I Always Wanted Lunchables...

By Kate Kaufman

Somehow it worked. Growing up with a personal trainer, football coach, and passionate Italian father has resulted in a full indoctrination of his oldest child into his ways of eating and living. There isn't a single breakfast I can remember from the time I was school-aged when my eggs didn't at least have a heaping amount of kale, tomatoes, pepper, and onions. I was the kid who showed up at the lunch table with Italian style tuna fish (red onion, Italian flat leaf parsley, olive oil, salt, pepper) and whole wheat matzah crackers, a red cabbage salad (with olive oil and vinegar, not ranch, of course), and NO fun pudding dessert. Lunchables, Little Debbies, Gushers, and Coke were not a thing in my household.

I know, you're probably feeling so sorry for my childhood and how scarring it must have been. I thought this as well until I was set out on my own and shot into the independent world of college, where I got to grocery shop and could buy as many packets of Oreos my little 5-year old damaged heart could desire. However, this desire to buy what was always kept from me quickly resulted in a revolt from my Julian Kaufman trained body, and I soon found that these desires were not sustainable. 

What is now the result of this indoctrination? The Vegan Daughter. I am two months in my vegan adventure, and I haven't cracked yet! If you know my family at all, you know how hard cheese is to give up since cheese is one of our main food sources, given the king of cheeses comes from our beloved motherland: Parmigiano Reggiano. But I'm doing it, and I want to invite you all to join me in this adventure in helping our planet, helping your body, and helping our communities who are so affected by our food choices. 

All of my recipes will be super quick and super cheap, because the Ramen diet in college is a real struggle and temptation, and I need something to substitute this desire. All are welcome to join in: mommas and dads, businesswomen and men, students of all ages. Here's my first recipe I made for me and my three roommates! Feel free to add or substitute whatever veggies you have with you!

Buon Appetito! 

Spring Rolls with Almond Butter Dipping Sauce


For the Rice Paper Rolls:

  • 6 sheets of Vietnamese rice paper
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 small carrots
  • 1 mango
  • 3 green onions, cut into rings
  • 1 cup purple cabbage
  • About 6 radishes
  • 1 cup fresh mint

For the Almond Butter Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 3-4 tablespoons warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoons sriracha sauce (optional)


  1. Cut the avocado, the carrots, the mango, the mint, the radishes, the green onion, and the purple cabbage into thin stripes.

  2. When you're done cutting the veggies, fill a shallow bowl with water and dip the rice papers in water so they get moderately wet on both sides. Don't let them soak too long, so they don't get too soft.

  3. When you soaked the rice papers, fill them with the veggies and wrap them like a burrito. I think it's best to center the filling and then roll it up and fold in the two side flaps.

  4. Then make the peanut dipping sauce: In a medium bowl, combine the peanut butter with the soy sauce, the garlic, the warm water, and the sriracha sauce.

  5. Serve the rice paper rolls with the peanut dipping sauce.



Recipe of the Week - Avocado, Lettuce and Tomato Pita Pockets


  • 1 large ripe avocado 
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 
  • Pinch fine sea salt 
  • Pinch ground black pepper 
  • 2 whole grain pita pockets 
  • 4 butter lettuce leaves 
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves 
  • 2 medium tomatoes, each cut into 4 slices 


In a small bowl, mash avocado with vinegar, salt and pepper until smooth. 

Cut pita pockets in half. Stuff pita pockets with lettuce leaves and basil. Evenly divide avocado mixture between pita pockets, spreading it on the lettuce leaves. Add 2 tomato slices to each pocket.

Nutritional Info: 

Per Serving: Serving size: 1/2 stuffed pita, 180 calories (70 from fat), 8g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 220mg sodium, 25g carbohydrates, (7gdietary fiber, 2g sugar), 5g protein.



Recipe of the Week - Gluten-Free Cranberry Maple Pear Bars


  • Filling
  • 2 firm but ripe pears, such as Anjou or Bartlett, cored and cut into 1/4-inch pieces 
  • 1 cup dried cranberries 
  • 1/3 cup Grade B pure maple syrup 
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest 
  • Topping
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free rolled oats 
  • 1/3 cup pistachios, roughly chopped 
  • Crust
  • 1/3 cup pistachios 
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats 
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour 
  • 3 tablespoons potato starch 
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free baking powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom 
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced, plus more for the pan 
  • 1 egg 


To make the filling, combine pears, cranberries and maple syrup in a small saucepan, set over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until pears are very tender. Remove from heat and stir in orange zest. Let cool, then reserve 1/4 cup of the filling to use for making the topping. Transfer 1 cup of the remaining filling to a food processor or blender and blend until it forms a jam-like consistency. Add blended filling to remaining filling and stir to combine.  

To make the topping, combine oats, pistachios and reserved 1/4 cup filling in a small bowl.  

To make the crust, preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch square baking dish. Place pistachios in a food processor and pulse until finely ground, being careful not to create a paste. Transfer to a large bowl and add oats, brown sugar, brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt and cardamom. Stir until well combined. Using a pastry blender or 2 butter knives, cut butter into oat mixture until coarse crumbs form. Add egg and stir to form a dough. Press dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.  

Spread filling over dough, then sprinkle topping evenly over filling, pressing lightly so it adheres. Bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely, then cut into 16 squares.

What do I Eat??? Week One...

My name is Julian Kaufman.  I own Forte Fitness, and I am so grateful for our team of trainers and clients.  I am often asked, "What do you eat?"  Well each week I am going to send you a meal I have actually eaten and prepared.  I desire to eat beautiful food that tastes great and is nutritionally diverse.  I focus on eating whole foods, mainly plant-based.  I try to include as many different plants, vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds as I can each day.  

This is a breakfast I made and ate this week.  (Sorry the picture is grainy - I will try to get better ones as the weeks go on!)  I am busy like you.  I get up in the 5s or 6s each morning and work until 7pm or later.  I only mention this to say if you want to be a healthy eater, you can.  It just takes your commitment.  You owe it to yourself and your family because what you eat will determine your health.  

The breakfast you are looking at is no cheese omelet.  I sliced thinly small red, yellow and orange bell peppers.  I threw them in a pan with a little olive oil. I also chopped up some kale and threw it in the pan.  Then I cracked two free range eggs.  Meanwhile I steamed 4 asparagus.  I seasoned the eggs with sea salt, black pepper, and red chili flakes.  I seasoned the asparagus with a little olive oil and sea salt  I drank a glass of green tea with it.  

It was delicious and healthy.

Give it a try.  It is not hard to do.  And this was just my plate.  I made this for my son that I had to take to school as well.  Not only is he eating a healthy breakfast but he is learning to appreciate good, healthy food and to take the time to make it.  

Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts


  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise 
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 


Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss Brussels sprouts with oil, salt and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, stirring once or twice, until deep golden brown, crisp outside and tender inside, 30 to 35 minutes. The leaves that are loose will be especially brown and crispy. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

Rosemary Parmesan Brussels Sprouts
Add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary to Brussels sprouts before roasting. During the last 5 minutes of roasting, add 1/4 cup pine nuts. Stir well and continue roasting until Brussels sprouts are tender. Before serving, toss with 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese.

Cranberry Pecan Brussels Sprouts
During the last 5 minutes of roasting, add 1 cup dried cranberries and 1/4 cup pecan pieces. Stir well and continue roasting until Brussels sprouts are tender.

Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad
After roasting, allow Brussels sprouts to cool to room temperature. Toss with 4 cups baby kale mix, 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese and 1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette.

Nutritional Info: 

Per Serving: Serving size: , 110 calories (70 from fat), 7g total fat, 1gsaturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 320mg sodium, 10g carbohydrates, (4 gdietary fiber, 2g sugar), 4g protein.


Recipe of the Week - Whey Protein Breakfast Blast


  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries 
  • 1/2 banana 
  • 3 tablespoons 365 Everyday Value® Vanilla Flavor Whey Protein Powder 
  • 1/2 cup skim (1%) milk (or nondairy substitute) 
  • 2 teaspoons honey (optional) 
  • 3 ice cubes 
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed 


In a blender, thoroughly combine berries, banana, protein powder, milk and honey by pulsing a few times. Add ice cubes and blend until very smooth. Pour into a 16-ounce glass and sprinkle with ground flaxseed.


Quinoa Pilaf with Cranberries and Almonds


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 small red onion , chopped 
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa , rinsed and drained 
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries 
  • 2/3 cup sliced almonds , toasted 


Heat oil in a medium pot over medium high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until just softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add quinoa and toast, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in broth and salt and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in cranberries, cover again and continue to cook until liquid is completely absorbed and quinoa is tender, 8 to 10 minutes more. Toss with almonds and serve.

Recipe of the week...Bison Chili


  • 1/2 pound ground bison 
  • 1 large onion , finely chopped 
  • 1 large carrot , finely chopped 
  • 1/2 head cauliflower , stemmed and cut into small florets (about 3 cups) 
  • 1 medium green bell pepper , finely chopped 
  • 3 large garlic cloves , finely chopped 
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin 
  • 2 tablespoons no-salt-added chili powder 
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 can no-salt-added diced tomatoes 
  • 1 can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes 
  • 1 can no-salt-added kidney beans , drained and rinsed 
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves , chopped 


Heat a large Dutch oven or pot over high heat. When the pot is very hot, add bison and brown it, stirring often for 5 minutes. Add onion and carrot, and cook, until both begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water to deglaze the pan, scraping brown bits from the bottom of the pan as the water evaporates.

Add cauliflower, bell pepper and garlic and cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add cumin, chili powder, vinegar, tomatoes and beans along with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are fork tender, about 45 minutes.
Serve garnished with chopped cilantro.

Nutritional Info: 

Per Serving: Serving size: , 250 calories (25 from fat), 2.5g total fat, 0gsaturated fat, 35mg cholesterol, 180mg sodium, 36g carbohydrates, (13 gdietary fiber, .12g sugar), 24g protein.