This is my first post in 1.5 years … and it’ll be my last.

I’ve been through a lot changes since you last heard from me. The last thing you knew was that I was scheduled to have a surgery to remove a mass from my nasal area in January of 2013. That’s why I never came back, and that’s also why I’m moving on to bigger and better things!

I don’t know how many fans I still have left out there after all of this time, but if you’re still here I feel like I owe you an explanation about why I’ve quit writing this blog.

My crazy story actually all started when I was a kid, I guess, but I’ll keep that part short. I came down with a terrible case of mononucleosis in the 2nd grade, which led to jaundice. I could’ve died, so my mom says. After that illness, I got sick a lot. That led to being given too many antibiotics throughout my childhood – I now realize that’s one of the things that kept me sick. I developed signs of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome soon after that, and I didn’t eat a proper diet for someone who had destroyed their immune system with the overuse of antibiotics.

Rachael-sitting-on-piano-wiMy poor, unhealthy body eventually led me to develop IBS-D, Endometriosis and Fibromyalgia later in life. Basically, I’ve been sick as long as I can remember – but things started to get worse as I reached my mid-twenties, when all the small signs and symptoms finally began to develop into incurable chronic illnesses.

I had these illnesses when I began Simply Fresh Cooking, but I was actually feeling better in the first few months of starting up the blog. The reason is several months earlier, I had a couple of necessary surgeries that helped me to feel better for a short time. One surgery was to remove Endometriosis through laparoscopic surgery and the other was to correct a severely deviated septum. I also had started eating a healthier diet in early 2011 because I was fed up with how sick I had become.

I really thought I was “good to go” at this point. Changing my diet and having surgeries to fix my health issues should’ve been all I needed to recover from my life-long misery. Unfortunately, I was wrong in my thinking and had no idea I wasn’t doing anything right.

I was really loving this blog when I started. I enjoyed the small successes I’d achieved in my first 3 months, like getting over 4,000 pageviews in one day and getting hired by to do freelance writing and photography – a real paid gig!

But as you know, those good feelings changed and I quickly got sicker and sicker the more that weird mass grew. I planned to have the surgery… less than a year after I started the blog. I wanted to remove the mass and come back healthy so I could get back to work on creating awesome recipes and growing my readership.

Well, the mass came out fine and wasn’t cancerous, but the drugs they gave me after the surgery were what almost caused my demise. I was given very strong antibiotics and a very short run of steroids (Medrol Dose Pack) because I had experienced more pain than was normal, post-surgery.

Long story short, these drugs almost completely destroyed my already fragile immune system and caused a major overgrowth of Candida aka bad bacteria in the gut. I also found out that I had something called Leaky Gut that was making me nutrient deficient. Shortly after the course of treatments I became unable to walk very well, I gained 30 pounds, lost about 40-50% of my hair, I had tons of skin issues and developed Cushing Syndrome with a buffalo hump (see below) and Osteopenia. I was very ill and had a lot more crazy symptoms that I won’t get into now, but I spent the better part of 2013 basically bedridden.

Obviously, blogging was the last thing on my mind.

Skin issues and buffalo humpWhat was on my mind, though, was figuring out how to get well and continue being alive! I had done loads of research and was ready to actually begin treating myself with food and supplements a few months after I took those drugs.

My Naturopathic doctor, who I only saw twice, informed me that the last person she treated that was as sick as me took 3 years to fully recover. So, I knew I was in this for the long haul. I knew I had to change my mind about a lot of my old habits and learn to adapt to my new life to get myself well. I also knew that I had to start focusing on my life as a whole – not just diet. I came to see that being truly healthy was about more than just food, and I finally came to understand the “mind/body/spirit” connection that you always see people talking about on the internet. I realized that what I thought even affected how I felt!

I started my life rehab with an extended green juice fast. Next, I began my Candida diet that would replenish the good bacteria in my gut. I went chemical free and “green”, I switched to filtered tap water and changed everything about my life in those first few months. I felt a little better, rather quickly, too.

I was extremely dedicated to my new diet (and still am), and I was actually accomplishing everything I set my mind to. I fully accepted the new changes that would keep me alive and get me back to being the healthy person I was always meant to be. 

Going all organic proved to be extremely beneficial, and I stopped eating gluten/wheat, dairy, sugar, fruit, vinegar (except apple cider vinegar), moldy nuts (like peanuts, cashews and pistachios), all processed foods and probably more that I’m forgetting. Later on, I found that I even needed to remove all grains from my diet so that my bowel movements could become solid again after 8 years. So, I happily removed grains, too!

Exercise came next. Keep in mind, I couldn’t really walk on my feet too well, but I could stand long enough to get on my ski machine. So, I did that for 1 minute every single day no matter how bad I felt – and I felt bad every day, so this was a “no excuses” exercise plan for sure!

I “upped” my time by 1 minute each week. I did that for 42 days straight with no days off. I kept up that strict pace for many months, trying to rebuild my energy. Once I got up to 20 minutes a day, I started allowing myself some days off here and there. It was like moving at a snail’s pace at first, but before I knew it, 6 months passed and I was walking around pretty well and had a lot more energy that my body desperately needed.

As you can see, I’ve been through a lot in the last 1.5 years. I’ve changed so much and I’ve really outgrown everything I envisioned for Simply Fresh Cooking. That’s why I started Love Yourself Green.

I choose not to eat most of the food on this blog anymore, and to be honest, I was only kidding myself that I was healthy while I was writing this blog. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I still ate things that were keeping me sick! Things like gluten/wheat, processed foods and dairy products. Yeah, I developed a dairy allergy while I was writing this blog, thanks to the Leaky Gut that I didn’t know I had! Heck, I even ate fast food more often than I’d like to admit – especially towards the end. So, in a weird way, I associate this blog with the old “sick me”, and it’s just time to let all of it go and move on. will be so much more than anything I could’ve ever imagined for Simply Fresh Cooking. Not just grain, gluten and dairy free recipes, but articles focused on helping chronically ill people feel better. I also hope to inspire others with my story and encourage and motivate them to take back control of their lives like I did! I believe that the best way to inspire change in others is to share what you’ve been through yourself – and that’s what I intend to do!

I never used to share a lot about myself on this blog, though – it was mostly just nonsensical rambling – but on my new blog, things will be drastically different. I’m going to be 100% transparent (okay, maybe 97.5%) and share everything about my old (and new) life.

What’s happening now?

This very moment, I’m prescription-free for the first time in years! I have a good handle on my chronic illnesses and live a (mostly) pain-free life. I’m healthier than I ever remember being and I’m so much more energetic than I ever thought possible for a chronically ill person. Most of all, though, I’ve found true happiness and gratefulness in my heart. The latter was something I didn’t even know I was missing until I thought I’d lose everything. ;)

From here, I’m going to keep up the fight and keep working on getting myself as healthy as I possibly can, and I’ll continue to do this for the rest of my life. My health will always be my #1 priority from now on. So many problems came to me in my life because my health wasn’t my priority before. Coming in at a close #2 – priority-wise – is/will be helping people just like me!

Actually, before I could even walk like a normal person again, I started helping people… lots of people! That’s how I’ve come to be so passionate about being of service to others in the last year. There’s a tremendous need for more help in our country. People are lost, just like I was.

Some news — I haven’t told anyone “publicly” until now, but we’re starting a food product company! Things are going really well so far and I can’t wait until we can launch our first product!

Life is really good, and I’ve learned to take it one day at a time. No more stressing, just taking it all as it comes.

Now… are you wondering about Bill (the hubs)? He’ll still be around in various ways. He’ll do cooking demos and public appearances with me, but as far as blog posts, he’s opting out of regularly posting recipes the next time around. But, he’ll be taking over the new “Behind the Scenes” series on LYG and sharing how we earn money (and how much!). I’m not sure what his series will be called yet, but I’m looking forward to it!

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Isn’t he presh? I need to give him serious props for taking such good care of me since all of this craziness started. My health declined right after we met, but he’s hung in there with me the. whole. time. Hopefully I’ll be able to repay him one day!

You probably want to hear about the weight loss now, right? Honestly, I thought at one point that losing weight was the most important thing, but I’ve found out that being healthy is the most important thing (in the world) to me. Next on the most-important-list is being happy. I figured out that I wasn’t ever going to be truly happy as long as I was treating my body like crap, but happiness naturally comes when you make the right choices for yourself every day! Finding love for yourself is a bonus to getting healthy, for sure. That being said, weight loss is definitely somewhere on my list of priorities… I’m not going to lie! I started at 197 at my heaviest – due to the steroid weight – and I ended up at 130! That’s 67 pounds lost, and I’m down to a size 6. Not too bad!

I’ve left a lot of things out of this story, but if you follow me on my new blog, you’ll eventually learn everything there is to know. The major point I’d like to leave here with is that YES, I’ve certainly been through hell – but if I wouldn’t have gone through the worst time in my life, I wouldn’t be going through what’s now the. best. time in my life! It was allllllllllllll worth it in the end!

If you’re seeing this post prior to the launch on 1-5-15, that means I’m still working on building the new site. Until then, please follow me here:

  • Facebook (don’t forget to select “get notifications” if you want to see my posts in your newsfeed – OR you can comment on/like my posts as much as you can to be sure I’ll show up in your newsfeed!)
  • Pinterest- Check out all the yummy grain free recipes I’ve pinned!
  • Twitter @LoveUrselfGreen!

I’d say goodbye, but I’m not really leaving. :)

Go love yourself,

Corned Beef Hoagie with Spicy Slaw

Corned Beef Hoagie with Spicy SlawIf you’ve been following Simply Fresh Cooking since the beginning, this sandwich might look eerily familiar – but back then it was called a Reuben Style French Dip with Spicy Slaw.  That was Bill’s second post ever… awwww.  Please pay no attention to those old photos of mine, by the way. 

Bill thought up the idea for that genius sandwich when we had leftover corned beef from St. Patty’s Day.  I never, ever have been able to forget how fantastic that was.  Juicy and messy, crispy and soggy at the same time from the hot beef broth, a little spicy crunch from the slaw… I couldn’t wait for a year to pass to eat it again.

But, things happen.  I wasn’t up for all of the work that Bill put into making it last year…

Soooo, I took the easy way out.  There are only a few differences between Bill’s Reuben sandwich from last year and the sandwich in this post.  He shredded the veggies for the homemade slaw, he made homemade pickles for the slaw, and the hoagie was turned inside out and grilled.  Oh, but let us not forget the fact that he made his own Corned Beef (whaaaaat?).  What I’m saying is, he didn’t buy it out of the package.  Yeah.  That’s just how he rolls.  *Cough*. Fancy pants. *Cough*.

Corned Beef Hoagie with Spicy SlawMy easy (but still just as good) sandwich uses packaged corned beef, a bag of packaged slaw mix, jarred pickles, and it’s not grilled – just broiled open-faced to melt the Swiss cheese.  Popping it under the broiler for a few minutes actually makes half of the hoagie golden brown, so you’re still getting a little bit of that crispiness from the bread  that you might be missing from Bill’s version.

Let’s talk pickles real quick.  If you want to make homemade pickles, go for it.  Fancy pants Bill also has a post for Quick Pickles.  If you’d rather not take that extra step, go for something like Nathan’s brand.  They’re so good and still have that “made from scratch” feel you’d get from a homemade pickle.

Have I mentioned the homemade mayo for the slaw?  Guess who has a post for that, too?

You guessed it.  Fancy pants.  :)

I kid.

But seriously – this is an excellent splurge for a special occasion, and this big ol’ messy sandwich really is a treat!

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Rachael Rachael xoxo

5.0 from 2 reviews
Corned Beef Hoagie with Spicy Slaw
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is a great way to use up leftover corned beef after St. Patty's Day. Save the broth from your corned beef for a flavorful au jus to dip your sandwiches in. The recipe makes extra spicy slaw to serve as a side dish. If you don't want extra, feel free to cut the slaw ingredients in half.
Serves: 2
For the Slaw
  • ⅔ cup canola oil mayonnaise (see notes)
  • ⅓ cup ketchup
  • 1 and ½ teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • ½ of a dill pickle, diced (see notes)
  • ¼ teaspoon caraway seed
  • hot sauce or hot pepper powder to taste
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag slaw mix
  • salt and pepper to taste
For the Sandwich
  • 1 loaf of French bread (we purchased bread from Jimmy John's)
  • cooked corned beef, thinly sliced - enough to cover the bottom of your bread loaf (corned beef is easier to slice when cold)
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese, big eye
  • hot au jus (broth) from the corned beef, strained (optional)
  1. In a small mixing bowl combine mayonnaise, ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, honey, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, shallot, pickle, caraway seed, and hot sauce. In a large bowl, toss slaw mix and slaw dressing until combined. Salt and pepper to taste. Add more hot sauce or hot pepper powder at this point if you'd like it spicier. Set slaw aside or place in refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. When ready to assemble sandwiches, carefully cut the French bread loaf in half, lengthwise, but don't cut all the way through. Open the bread loaf and place on a foil lined baking sheet to begin building your sandwich. Place corned beef on the bottom half of the bread, and arrange all 4 cheese slices on top of the meat (an easy way to make all of the cheese "fit" is to cut each slice of cheese in half into a triangle shape, then place cheese on the meat with the triangles overlapping a little). Place under the broiler on high until cheese is melted and the top half of the bread is golden brown - watching closely to be sure not to burn.
  3. Next, place desired amount of slaw mix on top of the corned beef and cheese. Fold top half of bread over the slaw and cut it in half on the diagonal to make 2 sandwiches. Dip in hot au jus, if desired.

You may also like:

Homemade Corned Beef and Cabbage with Red Potatoes  Roasted Jalapeno Deviled Egg  Homemade Canola Oil Mayonnaise

10 Minute Chocolate Fudge Topping

Chocolate Fudge Topping

Happy 1 year Anniversary, Simply Fresh Cooking!

We’ve had close to 200,000 visits and over 460,000 pageviews.  On average, you guys looked at about 2.5 pages while you were here.  Our biggest day in the last year was on May 27th with a whopping 8,694 pageviews.  Wow!

Our 2 most popular posts (by a landslide) have been  “Best Canned Tomato Salsa Recipe” and  “Grandma’s Crustless Cheesecake Recipe”, and for good reason – they’re our top picks, too.

On behalf of Bill and myself, thank you so much to everyone who’s been a part of our little slice of blog heaven – whether you’re just stopping by for a quick minute to check out a recipe, or you’re a regular follower of Simply Fresh Cooking on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, we appreciate all of you.  Thank you for being here!

I’d also like to give a big shout out to all of my food blogger friends that I’ve made in the last year. Thanks for all of your great advice, support, and lovely comments in our first year! Muah!

We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the occasion than with homemade vanilla ice cream and the most divine fudge topping you’ve ever had.

Chocolate Fudge Sauce

Here’s a little chocolate fudge topping history…

This fudge recipe makes up one fourth of a layered frozen dessert that my Grandma makes.  It’s called Uncle Albert’s, and to my knowledge there never was an Uncle Albert in my family.  Basically, I don’t know who this “Albert” guy is, but I love this dude.  This recipe has always been a family favorite.  My brother goes insane over it and now I’ve gone and made Bill and my in-laws fall madly in love, too.

Basically, it’s a layer of finely crushed Ore0’s/butter, vanilla ice cream, hot fudge topping, and then to top it off – Cool Whip.  I know what you’re thinking.  It doesn’t sound all that special, but you have to eat it to believe it.  Obviously, it’s this fudge topping that makes it completely out of this world. 

I’ll consider sharing that recipe with you… someday.  Maybe.  Well, for sure.  Sorry to torture you like that.  It might be awhile until I make it again.  It makes such a huge batch, and we do actually eat all of the food you see on this site.  How about this, lovelies – if you want that mysterious Uncle Albert’s recipe, email me at and I’ll get it to you at my earliest convenience.  K?  :)

<3 you, Albert (xo).

Ok, back to the fudge topping (I can feel some bullet point magic coming on):

  • It’s easy to make.  10 minutes, in fact.
  • No preservatives —–>Winning.
  • It’s super decadent, with kind of a “caramel-esque” quality to it.  You just have to try it.
  • Drizzle it on ice cream, stick your face in it, eat it with a spoon, do whatever you want with it.  Just make it.

Grab a spoon and cheers to the next year!  I’m not going anywhere…

Rachael Rachael xoxo

5.0 from 2 reviews
10 Minute Chocolate Fudge Topping
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Decadent, rich, easy to make chocolate fudge topping. There's no excuse to buy it out of a jar when it's this easy! Yields: 1¾ cup
Recipe type: Desserts
Serves: 14
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 3 semi-sweet chocolate baking squares
  1. Place all ingredients in a large pot over high heat (there aren't many ingredients, but a large pot will help to prevent the chocolate from splattering everywhere as it boils). Bring to a boil and stir the mixture constantly for 8-10 minutes. Cover and refrigerate any unused fudge topping.
The fudge topping will become firm in the refrigerator. Reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Or reheat in the microwave - start with 30 seconds; stir, then continue heating and stirring in 10 second increments until desired temperature is reached.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 Tablespoons Calories: 175.1 Fat: 10.2 g Saturated fat: 6.3 g Carbohydrates: 20.6 g Sugar: 17.5 g Sodium: 84.4 mg Fiber: 0.3 g Protein: 1.9 g Cholesterol: 24.4 mg

Recipe Source:  Grandma

You may also like:

Healthy Cheesecake  Oatmeal Cream Pies with Mascarpone Cheese Filling  Lemon Yogurt Cake with Mascarpone Icing

How-To Fondue

Do you own a fondue pot that you’ve never taken out of the box?

Maybe I can give you the inspiration to dust that baby off and have some fondue fun!

Let’s just change the name to SUPER FUN-DUE, k?




Fondue (a.k.a. super fun-due) is hands down one of my favorite eating activities on the planet.

I know a lot of people prefer chocolate fondue.

Me?  Not so much.

There’s just something about cooking various meats on a tiny skewer at my dining room table that makes me have a crazy good time.  Every time.

Here’s How-To Fondue:

I’ve put together a basic guideline to follow if you’re new to fondue-ing.  This is how I roll – but you can get creative and change things up to make it fun for your party!

Keep it simple.  Pile up a couple of plates of protein – I usually like to have a lean cut of cubed sirloin and fresh shrimp that I’ve peeled and deveined myself.

Then, do a huge platter full of veggies – grape tomatoes, garlic, mushroom, green onion, white onion, parsley, and arugula.  Lightly dress the arugula with lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, and cracked black pepper – this will cut out some of the bitterness that arugula can sometimes have.

The whole cloves of garlic aren’t strong once you cook them in the oil.  If you like roasted garlic, you’ll love this!  Trust me.


Sounds pretty healthy so far, right?

That means it’s time for the fun part.

I always have at least 2 dips to go along with the lean proteins – The shrimp pairs beautifully with this Creamy Parmesan Mustard Dip that I posted on the blog last week.

Creamy Parmesan Mustard Dip

The beef is great dipped in a simple blue cheese spread.  Just combine blue cheese crumbles with sour cream and that’s it!  Who doesn’t like beef and blue cheese?  Classic.

Of course, if you don’t care for these flavors you can use any other dips that would suit your taste buds.

After you’ve heated the oil in your fondue pot, you’re ready to chow down.

Pardon my iphone pics.  I was obviously more into eating my masterpieces than photographing them.



A fun thing the hubs and I like to do is make interesting little bites for each other.  He always manages to give me a creation that I would never have thought to make for myself.

With all of these different ingredients and flavors, you’ll find yourself totally and completely stuffed before you ever get bored.

Looking for a little something extra to serve with your fondue?

Assorted cheeses and crackers or a crusty loaf of bread go great with this “small bites” type of meal.  I served Smoked Salmon Cheese Balls and crackers for our last fondue party.

OH… and don’t forget the wine!


Rachael Rachael xoxo

5.0 from 2 reviews
How-To Fondue
Prep time
Total time
This is a basic guide on "how-to fondue". Including dips on the side are a key component to making each bite extra delicious! Assorted cheeses and crackers or a crusty loaf of bread go great with this "small bites" type of meal.
Serves: 4
  • 1 pound lean sirloin steak, or any cut of beef you prefer, cubed
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 (8-oz) container whole white mushrooms, cut in half
  • 1 bunch parsley, stems removed
  • 1 bulb garlic, cloves peeled and kept whole
  • 1 bunch green onion, cleaned and cut in half
  • ½ white onion, sliced
  • ½ to 1 package of arugula
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • lemon wedge
  • canola oil for fondue pot
  1. Place cubed steak and shrimp on separate plates. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
  2. Arrange tomatoes, mushrooms, parsley, garlic, green onion, and white onion on a large platter, keeping a good amount of room for the arugula. Place arugula in a large bowl and lightly dress with a small amount of olive oil, pinch of sea salt, cracked black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Gently toss to combine. Place arugula on the vegetable platter.
  3. Refer to your fondue pot instructions and add canola oil to the fondue pot. Once the oil is heated, place the steak and shrimp on skewers and cook the meat in the oil (Note: You can tell when the shrimp is cooked when it starts to turn pink). It's important to make sure you have a fondue pot that gets hot enough to cook raw meat. Next, you can cook the garlic and any vegetables in the oil that you wish to.
Dip Ideas:

For the beef - Try mixing together blue cheese crumbles and sour cream. Just add sour cream to your blue cheese until the desired consistency is reached.

For the shrimp - Go to to find the perfect Creamy Parmesan Mustard Dip recipe!

Tips: Get creative with your fondue bites. Combine different ingredients and get a different bite every time. For example - Try beef with blue cheese dip, tomato, and arugula. Next, you could try shrimp with creamy parmesan mustard dip, cooked mushroom, cooked garlic, and a bit of green onion. You've got a lot of ingredients to work with, so keep experimenting and have fun!

You may also like:

Creamy Parmesan Mustard Dip  Salmon Cheese Balls  Healthy Cheesecake

Want to improve your food photos?

Tasty Food Photography eBook


Creamy Parmesan Mustard Dip

If you’ve been looking for the perfect mustard dip, here ya go…

Creamy Parmesan Mustard Dip
I found this several years ago on  In my mind, I always thought it was a recipe by Ina Garten from The Barefoot Contessa – but it turns out I was wrong (it happens… sometimes).

Ever heard of Janet Johnston?  Me either.

Whatevs.  I love her recipe for this Parmesan mustard dip.

Creamy Parmesan Mustard Dip

It packs a whole lot of mustard flavor from 3 different sources – whole grain mustard, Dijon, and ground mustard.  The spiciness of the mustard is perfectly balanced out with a little sour cream and freshly grated Parmesan.

Creamy. Mustardy. Heaven.

This dip is usually served with fondue at my house, but you could use it for so many different things.

Try it simply by spreading it on your favorite crackers or pita bread.  Serve it with a veggie plate – or even use it as a burger topping.

I just recently used this dip as kind of a “sauce” for a shrimp and quinoa dish.

You can try it with just about anything you like mustard with.

Hope you enjoy!

Rachael Rachael xoxo

Recipe Source:

Creamy Parmesan Mustard Dip
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup Parmesan, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • Pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Add all ingredients to a small serving bowl and combine well. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Yield: 1 and ½ cups

You may also like:

Salmon Cheese Balls  Hummus (with pita bread)Beer Bread

Want to improve your food photos?

Tasty Food Photography eBook