What’s summer without veggies?

Well, it sure ain’t a summer for me.

I’ve been craving juicy, refreshing veggies everyday and night.

I’m loving the fresh produce at the farmer’s markets and the taste of combining flavors in a simple veggie platter.

It’s the simple things in life that make me happy.

Fresh veggies.

Fresh ingredients.

Pure, clean, crisp.


The past two weeks have been quite difficult. Coming to realize I am allergic to sulfates and everything from my favorite mustard’s to salsas has been quite tough but I’m staying positive and feeling so much better.

Plus, I’m eating cleaner than ever. Loving my summer salads with chia seeds, morning eggs with ground flax seeds, afternoon smoothies with cherry tomatoes and homemade dressings, marinades and salsas with fresh herbs from my papa’s garden. Well, I chop some fresh basil on the weekends at the shore when I’m at my parents home and bring it on back to Manhattan for my meals during the week.  So perfectly sweet.

It’s amazing how our taste buds can adapt.

It’s amazing how life can change in an instant.

A blink of an eye.

I swore it was yesterday I was eating cheese and crackers.

But it wasn’t.

And it won’t be any more.

Well, that is…until my body outgrows this allergy and reaction.

If you asked me to go without a day of gum or packaged salsa n’ mustard’s last month…I would have looked at you like you were crazy. Yes, like you were nuts. Me? Give up my fun lil’ condiments?  Never.

Well, never say never. Because I’ve been free of these fun condiments and special sauces. If it’s anything that comes wrapped up in a package of any sort…say bye-bye to Amie Jo’s pantry because my body just isn’t feeling good eating it and I’m moving onto homemade, fresh substitutes.

Has it been rough?

O yes.

Has it been a challenge?

To say the least.

Am I learning?

O you betcha. Each and everyday.

And getting super creative in my kitchen.  Even more creative than I’ve been in the past.  I know, how is that possible, right?

O just wait… I’ve been letting my creative juices flow and my fridge is packed with veggies n’ fresh fish, eggs, nuts n’ seeds to keep me smiling.

I just need one thing.

Duck tape.

My fridge won’t close.

Bought too many veggies. Hehe.

Summer Vegetable Plate

Vegan and Gluten-Free

Serves 2


  • 1 eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch disks lengthwise
  • 1 head bok choy, sliced into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 vidalia onion, sliced
  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1/4 cup arugula
  • 1/4 cup mixed greens


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place sliced eggplant on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with water; place in the oven for 20 minutes or until soft.
  3. Place bok choy in a steamer basket over medium heat; steam for 10 minutes, covered.  Add onion, steam for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, slice zucchini into 1/2 inch matchstick pieces.
  5. Remove eggplant from oven; set aside to cool. Then, place all vegetables in the refrigerator for 1 hour or until chilled.
  6. Arrange a large serving plate with the chilled eggplant, tomatoes, onion, zucchini, bok choy, arugula and mixed greens.  Drizzle with pine nut dressing (below).

Pine Nut Pesto Dressing


  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, roasted
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 large Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 large vidalia onion, chopped


  1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients; process until smooth. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  2. Drizzle atop vegetable platter.  Use remaining dressing for salads, tofu, fish and eggs.
  3. Enjoy!

And today, I’m off to get X Rays of my mercury fillings in my mouth as the doctors have found mercury accumulation in my body and I am having my mercury fillings removed and replaced soon…

Lots of smoothies when that happens…

You just wait!


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  1. Thanks for the comment on my blog, Amie! 🙂 I love your photos and I know exactly what you mean about learning to eat without pre-made condiments. It makes it much harder to whip together a quick meal, but on the other hand, you know exactly what’s going into your body and you end up feeling much better. Good luck and say hello to Manhattan for me.


    1. Thank you, Iris. Great to hear from you! Thank you for your kind words and your support; I greatly appreciate it. So happy we’ve found each other through the blog world; can’t wait to keep reading your posts. I’ll be sure to say hi to Manhattan for you; hope you come visit soon! xo

  2. This looks amazing Amie! Question – what about jarred sauces that have all-natural fresh ingredients though? I do buy jarred pasta sauce from an organic store – it seems to be all-natural ingredients – veggies, basil, parsley, garlic, olive oil…is that still not so good though? I know I eat a lot of it and probably should just keep it simple.

    Hard is right 🙁

    1. No, everyone is different. I am just simply talking about me and what I have found that I can and cannot consume. Hopefully someday soon I’ll be able to eat those foods but for now I have to keep it simple and cannot have anything that is packaged….if these foods make you feel good and don’t bother your stomach then you don’t have to avoid them. Everyone just needs to eat what works for them and what makes them feel good both inside and out.

  3. Amie, your post is so inspiring! I feel the same exact way. I never would have dreamed that I’d be craving peaches or that lettuces actually have different tastes. We seem to be on a similar journey, and I look forward to learning from you!

    1. Thank you, Heather; so great to hear from you! You are so kind; thank you for your nice words…Your blog is fabulous and I can’t wait to connect with you! It’s so great to connect with a a gluten-free gal that is going down the same path to feeling better and getting well. Thank you again; xxoo. Enjoy your weekend!

  4. so glad you figured out that allergy … tough one, but it’s always better to know isn’t it?! pesto sounds great, will give it a whirl here soon. glad you’re feeling better too … the best kind of learning does seem to be painful doesn’t it? it’s quicker and deeper but we really *get* it better. at least I do :).

    1. Thank you, Bethany! You are so sweet and so great to hear from you. Been in so much pain but finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel and staying positive! Thank you for your support. Miss you; xooxxo. Hope you are having a great summer. Yes, the best kind of learning comes from experience and pain…sadly but it changes your life!