Can I just brag on my husband for a little bit?  When I told him a few years back that I wanted a new blender, he was totally cool with that.  When I told him that I wanted a new blender that cost almost $600, he may have died a little bit inside, but he didn’t shut me down right away.  And sure enough, later that weekend, we were toting home a Vitamix of our very own.  Gotta love that man.

And not to be left out, I’ve got to say thanks again to my brother, Mark, who happened to be in town and was willing to let me use his Costco membership.  He thought I was completely nuts for spending that much money on a blender.  Flash forward a few years, and last time I saw him, he asked if I still use it.  I really do.  Several times a week.

Most times, I make smoothies.  And oh man, the Vitamix really shines when it comes to smoothies with ice or frozen fruit.  I don’t think anything is too much for that machine.


The smoothies come out really, well, smooth.  My hubby and I have this smoothie at least once a week for breakfast.  It’s the smoothie in the book Always Hungry by Dr. David Ludwig.  I swear I’m not getting paid to promote their book!  LOL.  But the smoothie recipe is worth the cost of the book alone, for sure.  The recipe is of course copyrighted, otherwise I’d post it here.  I’ll see what I can do for you guys, though.  Stay tuned.


I also use my Vitamix for milling my own whole grain flour.  Yep, I’m that kind of crazy.  I’ll be posting about making my own flour under the Adventures category soon.  I bought the special dry container from Vitamix, which is specially made to grind grains, dry beans, and even coffee.  I could even make my own nut flour with the dry container.  If I used the regular container, I’d end up with nut butter, which is also amazing but serves a different purpose.


The flour comes out of the Vitamix just as regular flour does, but with all that great whole grain goodness included.


Here I am lightly sifting the flour.  That’s the dry container on the counter.  It’s shorter and a slightly different shape than the original.

One of these days, I’m going to have to have a blooper reel of all the god awful messes I’ve made in the kitchen.  Don’t let the neatness of the kitchen fool you here… if you look closely at the cabinets, you may still see the splattered mushrooms that I spilled yesterday during a photo shoot of dinner.  That was a royal mess.  Anyway!

I noodled around on Amazon out of curiosity to see how much the blender I have now is going for, and there’s a refurbished one available through Amazon Prime for only $300!  That’s a great deal.

So my question for you is, do you have a Vitamix?  And if you do, what’s your favorite thing to make in it?

Peanut (or Tofu) Chicken

Peanut Chicken-4

Sometimes I just can’t take any more chicken.  Anyone else ever feel that way?  I enjoy mixing things up for myself, but I do have a husband who would prefer chicken, given the choice.  This recipe is perfect for easily making two varieties at once!

If you follow me on Instagram (and you should @KitchenWithKeri), then you saw a sneak peek of the tofu used in this recipe yesterday!

I recommend making the sauce a day ahead and then pop it in the fridge for the flavors to blend.  If you forget to do that, just like I always do, the sauce will still be flavorful if you make it before you prep the protein.

Peanut Chicken

The sauce is one of those great dump recipes that comes together really fast in a mason jar with an immersion blender.  Shout out to Chef Dawn Ludwig for making me a fan of my immersion blender!

Next, prepare the protein of your choice, or both!  If you are making tofu and chicken, start by cutting and pressing the tofu, and let it sit while you move on to the chicken.  I simply cut up some chicken breast tenders and cooked them in a pan with some olive oil, butter, salt, and pepper.   Transfer to a bowl and set aside.  Wipe out the pan if desired, and then add olive oil and butter.  Let it get nice and hot.  Set the tofu chunks down carefully in a pan and salt and pepper it.  The trick is to let the tofu sit without fussing with it.  After a few minutes, flip the chunks carefully to the next side and repeat until golden on all sides.

Finally, return your protein back to the pan on medium low.  Add the sauce, two hefty handfuls of spinach, and let simmer for a few minutes until the spinach has wilted and the sauce thickens slightly.  If it gets too thick, you can add a bit of warm water to the pan to return the sauce to your desired consistency.

Serve over brown rice, if desired, and garnish with a little bit of chopped cilantro.  Yum!

Peanut Chicken (or Tofu)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

A flexible dinner that will please all eaters!


  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 large handfuls of washed fresh spinach
  • 1 block of tofu and/or 1 pound of chicken breast tenders
  • chopped cilantro to garnish
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil and butter, each for the pan


  • ½ cup natural peanut butter with no added sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of maple syrup or honey
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons of tamari
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • ¼ to ½ cup of hot water


  1. In a wide-mouthed mason jar, combine all sauce ingredients and blend with an immersion blender.
  2. Prepare the protein. Cut the tofu into even chunks about 1/4 inch thick and press between a kitchen towel with something heavy on top for a few minutes. If you are also making chicken, cut up some chicken breast tenders and cook them in a pan on medium high heat with some olive oil, butter, salt, and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Wipe out the pan if desired, and then add olive oil and butter. Set the tofu chunks down carefully in the hot pan and salt and pepper and let them cook without stirring for about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until all the other sides are golden brown.
  3. Add the sauce to the finished protein in the pan and turn the pan down to medium low. Add the spinach, and cook until wilted. If needed, add more water to the pan to keep the sauce at your desired consistency.
  4. Serve with half a cup of brown rice and enjoy!

Mission (Im)Possible?: Healthy Cruise


When most people think of a cruise, they think of the ocean, fun drinks, and of course, tons of amazing food.  Even if you have never been on a cruise, you may have heard about the legendary midnight chocolate buffets where fancy desserts, ice sculptures, and chocolate fountains are laid out on an altar to gluttony.  So where does healthy eating fall into the equation?  For most people, healthy eating is not even a thought beyond the first five minutes.  And with good reason!  It is overwhelming to constantly have tempting options right there for the taking.  Everyone else is loading up their plates with stacks of pancakes, bacon, eggs, corned beef hash, roasted potatoes and french toast with syrup!  So why shouldn’t you grab a plate and join in, right?! And that’s just breakfast.

But this isn’t my first rodeo.  On several past cruises, I did indulge with no restrictions.  I’ve had the “fun” of the eating frenzy, with the resultant bloat, tight clothing by the end of the cruise, weight gain, and constipation.  This time, however, I wanted to challenge myself to a new way of cruising.

For this challenge, I defined healthy eating as eating slow carbs and low/no sugar or sugar substitutes.  By slow carbs, I mean minimizing the consumption of white flour, white rice, and pasta and choosing whole grains like brown rice and quinoa when possible instead.  This included swapping white potatoes, which are high on the glycemic index for sweet potatoes, which are ironically lower on the GI.   I also included healthy movement and moderate alcohol into the mix.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know I’ve talked about this way of eating.  I mostly refer to the book Always Hungry? by Dr. David Ludwig, a practicing endocrinologist and researcher who works at Boston Children’s Hospital.  What I like the most about the Always Hungry? approach is it’s moderation.  I could never do a low carb diet long term.  What AH offers, however, is an eminently doable slow carb lifestyle that is not low in fat or ridiculously high in protein.  All of that is to offer the context of what I’ll be talking about in terms of healthy eating.

So bottom line- how did I do?  Wellllll…. for the most part, I accomplished my goals.   Let’s break it down by category, shall we?


This was generally the easiest meal of the day to eat healthfully, as eggs in all their variety are a solid choice and plenty of fresh fruit abounds to provide some slow carbs.  What was most disappointing was the lack of options.  Because regular oats are fairly highly processed, I didn’t want to choose them very often.  At home, I only eat steel cut oats.  Also at home, I frequently have full fat plain greek yogurt.  The closest thing I could find was low fat plain regular yogurt.  All of the other options had added sugar and sweetened fruit.  So by day 6, I was mightily sick of eggs and decided to branch out and have some (highly processed) oatmeal with honey and fruit.  On day 7, I had some muesli, which was quite tasty, but surely had sweetened yogurt and processed oats.

I was disappointed in the dairy selections.  There was whole milk available in cartons to drink, but the only half and half option was in those little individual containers and there was no cream offered at all.  So if you are accustomed to cream in your coffee, brace yourself for disappointment, even in the dining room at night.


I only ended up having one lunch, which was the first meal when we arrived on ship.  There were lots of healthy protein options, tons of fresh veggies and fruit, but disappointingly, not many slow carbs or legumes, aside from the major score of finding chickpeas.

Tim and I found that if we had a later breakfast, then we were plenty full until our dinner time of 5:30.  Skipping lunch was one way of ensuring that we were actually hungry when it was time to eat again.  If you know me in real life, you know that I NEVER skip a meal, ha!  But on each cruise in the past, I would often head into the next meal out of habit instead of hunger.  Being intentional about waiting to eat until I was hungry was a major victory for me in terms of health on this trip.

Cruise Food-8

Romaine lettuce salad with olives, carrots, corn, chickpeas and ranch dressing.  Cold cuts and cheese.  Amazing Greek salad.

The only other time we had lunch was when we were in port at Cozumel.  We had to stop and have some yummy Mexican food.  I had a chicken enchilada and Tim had bean and cheese nachos.  Of course, we had plenty of cerveza to wash it down.

Cozumel Food


Here comes the temptations!!  Freshly baked rolls of all types and desserts galore!  Sigh.  I was surprisingly easily able to pass on the bread rolls before the meals.  I’m actually pretty much a bread snob.  You know what I missed most?  The butter.

Dinner each night came with an appetizer, main course, and dessert.  The appetizers were all so excellent.  I’m kind of a soup aficionado, so that was my go to most nights.

At home, I don’t eat a lot of red meat, or meat in generally, typically.  But on this cruise, I was all about the meat.  I had duck, lamb two times, and several cuts of beef.  They were so tender and flavorful.  I do suspect that the sauces and marinades had sugar in them, however.  There was not much I could do to avoid that, so I just rolled with it.  Most of the sides were vegetables with some higher glycemic polenta or mashed potatoes.  Those, I sampled a bite of and then skipped. One night, I was pleasantly surprised to have mashed parsnips, which made me very happy!  I think several people at the table ate them, not realizing that they weren’t mashed potatoes.

Now let’s get to the desserts.  Sigh.  I tried, ya’ll.  I really did.  The first night, I got the fruit, which was beautiful, but honestly, disappointing.  We also got coffee each evening, so I tried adding cream from the coffee to the fruit, but realized very quickly that it was not real cream.  Bummer.  I had a dessert each night, except for the one night I had two!  Ha!  But it all balanced out because the following night I didn’t have any.

Not pictured is the amazing key lime pie and a few nights where I had a scoop of ice cream.  Oh well, you win some, you lose some!


I wanted to make sure that I included exercise on this cruise, so I signed up for spin class when they offered it each sea day.  The first two classes were an excellent hour of sweat and fun.  I felt like a million bucks afterwards, even though I felt pretty much like a martyr before class.  Ha!  The last sea day, I skipped class so I could spend the last day with my hubby, and I was fine with that decision.  Exercise is something that I do on a regular basis at home, and I knew that workouts awaited me when I got back to land.  We did take the stairs often, both going up and down.  The wait at the elevators was looong, so most times we just gave up and hoofed it up.

Spin Class

Good times!  If you spin, I would highly recommend.  Image courtesy of Royal Caribbean Press.


I had one cocktail each afternoon.  Most times, it was my current favorite of kahlua and cream.  One afternoon, I had a toasted almond martini for old times sake.  That was my favorite a few cruises back.  One night, I had wine with dinner.  In Mexico, I had 3 beers.  I definitely had more alcohol than I normally drink at home, but I was totally fine with the amount I had.  I didn’t overindulge this time, but I did fondly remember a past trip to Señor Frog’s- who can forget that, right, Dad?


My drink of choice- Kahlua and Cream.


All told, I think I managed to strike a balance between health and indulgence.  Was I perfect?  Definitely not.  Did I feel good about my choices at the end of the day?  Absolutely.  And that’s a win in my book.

Want to see personal photos of the cruise?  Click here to see my photo album*.  And if you haven’t yet, become a follower of my blog!

*Please be aware that all photos in my personal album are copyrighted by me and cannot be used or modified without permission.

Marinated Baked Tofu

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Sometimes I just get so tired of eating chicken.  Anyone else the same?  I’m not a huge meat eater to begin with, but I live with two meat-lovers.  Sigh.  So I invented this recipe as a way for me to add protein to my meals when I just can’t stand more chicken shit.

The technique of slicing and pressing the tofu is pretty standard.  There’s debate on if you should marinate the tofu before or after pressing.  Some people say that tofu soaks up more marinade when it is moist.  That may be the case, but I prefer to marinate my tofu after pressing.  It doesn’t seem to make a noticeable flavor difference to me.  And on the plus side, my towels don’t get marinade stained into them, yay!

I slice the tofu the short way about a quarter of an inch thick into slices like these.

2017_03 Baked Tofu 00002

Then, I go ahead and press them.  You can buy a fancy tofu press, or you can do what I do and use books.  I have plenty of books around and it’s one less appliance to store.

I spread out a double folded flour sack towel on the counter.  Then, in a single layer, I lay out all the tofu.  On top of this, I put another folded towel and then weight it down.

2017_03 Baked Tofu 00005

Here’s a picture of my entire set up.  I use two cutting boards on top of the towel, one of which is a really heavy marble.  Then, I stack up some books on top and let it sit for a good hour.

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I promise that’s not a rotten banana in my fruit bowl… it’s just a really ripe plantain.  They are yummy and sweet when ripened and sauted in butter.

While the tofu is pressing, you can make the marinade and do other stuff like laundry, make yogurt, or update your blog.  You know, regular things.

When time’s up, go ahead and lay the slices out in a baking dish with the marinade, making sure to flip and rotate the pieces a few times while they soak up all the good stuff.  I soak mine for about an hour and they pick up a lot of great flavor.

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Don’t forget to flip them now and again to make sure all pieces get equal treatment.

Then, it’s time to lay them on a parchment lined pan in a single layer and pop them in the oven.

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Bake them at about 400 degrees, flipping every ten minutes until they are the texture you like.  The longer you bake, the chewier they get!  I let mine cook for 3o minutes.

Baked Tofu Marinade

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 T. tamari
  • 1 T. liquid smoke
  • 1 t. sriracha
  • 1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
  • 1/2 t. onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a small bowl, mix all ingredients.
  2. Press tofu as described above for one hour.
  3. Lay out tofu in a baking dish and pour marinade over all pieces, making sure they are fully covered.  Let sit for at least an hour.
  4. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Come Sail Away with Me!


Come join me as I sail away on a lovely cruise ship this summer!  I will share more details in posts to come, but I wanted to let you know to be looking for adventure, amazing food, and a few funny stories coming to the the blog soon.

In the meantime, I have been thinking about ways to add more features to the blog, so also stay tuned for some changes coming.  I will be dividing the blog into three main sections:  Recipes, Adventures, and Tools.

The Recipes section will include the same great recipes I’ve included all along with easy printables.  In the Adventures section, I will be detailing some of my more adventurous forays into the kitchen, such as making my own homemade yogurt, canning, and soon-to-come: cheese making in your own kitchen!  In the Tools section, I will be highlighting the useful and must-have tools that I use on a regular basis in my kitchen.

So stay tuned- and don’t forget to pack the sunscreen!