Danielle Shine left a lucrative, but unfulfilling career to become a much happier chef, and shares 5 vegetarian picnic recipes
When editor-in-chief Kristen Noel invited me to contribute to this wonderful magazine, I was overjoyed because I’m a girl who loves to share her real-food recipes with anyone wanting to nourish their insides (and delight their tastebuds!).
I’m a natural foods chef who believes real health and happiness begins in the gut – it’s our second brain, but research continues to prove it’s second to none when it comes to influencing our thoughts and emotions. With this information comes power – the power to heal, nurture, and support ourselves using what mama nature gave us.
Years ago before I was a health-supportive chef, I was a little clueless about the whole ”health and wellbeing” thing. No one could tell from the outside; I put up quite the façade, but on the inside a storm was brewing…
I was a hard-working, highly praised media executive who maintained incredibly high standards for myself, my life, and everyone in it. I believed happiness directly correlated with the amount of money in the bank, so I worked very hard to be very happy. Food was of little importance to me; if I had to skip meals to get work done, I’d do it. When I wasn’t working, I was working out – sacrificing precious time with family and friends to spend time with strangers in the gym. When I did eat, it was usually out at restaurants or home with takeout.
In short: I was focusing on all the wrong things.
But as luck would have it, I was thrown some curve balls – BIG ones that knocked me to right to my knees. First it was the decline of my health, and next it was the cracks that began to appear in aspects of my job. That period of my life was awful, upsetting, stressful, confusing, and the best thing to have ever happened.
To cut a long story of self-discovery short, I made major changes. I devoured information about health, nutrition, meditation, and yoga… I drank in the words of Dr Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, Louise Hay, and Eckhart Tolle. I became a yoga teacher and learned how to ”listen in.” It was so powerful, I decided to become a health coach and help others do the same.
My education led to empowerment and empowerment led to epiphanies.
I left my corporate job and moved from Australia to New York to follow my calling to become a natural foods chef. It’s here we arrive together – me with my chef’s hat on and you with your willingness to try some fun, nourishing food.
The following recipes have been created to provide choice. We make them every day – some good, some not so good. But the beautiful thing about it is each day becomes a new day filled with more choices. My hope is that my foods nourish and strengthen you to make good choices.
There’s nothing I love more than sharing my learnings with others in a bid to
help people heal and support themselves.
~ Danielle Shine
Learn more at danielleshine.com
5 Vegetarian Happy Picnic Recipes
The Happy Picnic
A great meat-free, crispy mushroom treat to support digestion and provide a great dose of gut-friendly nutrition.
- 1 lb fresh shiitake mushrooms, de-stemmed, cut into ¼ inch strips
- ¼ cup cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon soy sauce (or tamari if you’re allergic/intolerant to gluten)
- Pre-heat oven to 350F/180C
- In a large bowl, combine mushroom strips, oil, and salt, and mix to combine.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread mushrooms out – no overlapping, you want the mushrooms to dry out evenly.
- Place tray in the oven for 20-25 mins. Note: This really depends upon how big your mushrooms are – the smaller they are, the less time it will take, so check in at the 10-minute mark.
- Once mushrooms shrink in size, darken, and become crisp, they are ready!
Gluten-free Squash Crackers
1 baking tray’s worth
- 1/2 cup steamed squash flesh (kabocha, delicata or butternut work best)
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons filtered water
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon black cumin seeds (also known as nigella seeds)
- Pre-heat oven to 350F/180C
- In a small bowl, mix squash and oil together with a fork (you can use a food processor for this, but you’ll get a more rustic-looking cracker making these with your hands).
- Add flour slowly, mashing everything together to combine well. If the mix is too dry, start adding water. At first, it may appear there’s not enough liquid, but be patient and keep mixing because it all starts to come together nicely. Note: If your squash flesh is very dry, you may need to add more water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time – you don’t want your dough too wet.
- Once you have dough, place it between two sheets of baking paper (sprinkled with a little flour) and roll out to 1/8th-inch thickness. Very carefully peel off the top layer of baking paper and transfer the bottom piece with rolled dough onto your baking tray. Prick with a fork all over and place in oven.
- Crackers are ready once edges brown (This may take 10-15 mins or longer depending on oven. Keep an eye on them!). Remove and leave to cool – the cracker will crisp up further once cool. Snap, crack, and break up into small pieces and sample your handiwork! Great paired with dips or crushed and used as gluten-free breadcrumbs in other recipes.
“Pom Pom” Quinoa Salad
A delicious, colorful, low-inflammatory salad to serve with lunch or dinner
1 large salad, enough for 3-4 sides
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1-2 tablespoons oil of your choice (I use extra-virgin olive oil but you can also use organic unrefined canola oil or coconut oil)
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds (you can also use currants)
- ½ cup purple cabbage, shredded
- 3-4 leaves of kale, deveined and cut into thin strips
- 1 cup broccoli florets, chopped small
- 1 fresh orange. ½ sliced into segments, ½ squeezed for juice
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from the other ½ of your orange)
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
- Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer under running water to wash away starch and grit. Combine with 2 cups water in a medium-size pot. Bring to a gentle boil before covering and reducing heat to a steady simmer. Leave for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and, with the lid still on, let quinoa rest for 5 minutes. Drain any excess water, fluff with a fork, and set aside while you prepare other ingredients.
- Saute cabbage and kale in oil until they begin to soften. Add broccoli and saute another 5 mins. Note: Broccoli will remain a little crunchy, so if you prefer soft broccoli, boil first then combine with cabbage and kale.
- Pour quinoa into your serving bowl and mix in vegetables. Top with orange segments and seeds.
- Combine dressing ingredients in a small glass jar with an airtight lid and shake to combine. Pour immediately over salad. Shake well each time before serving.
Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free ”Cheese” ‘n’ Chive Dip
Makes about 2 cups worth
- 2 cups raw cashews (soak overnight, rinse, and drain the next day)
- 1/2 cup filtered water (use less water if you want a thicker consistency)
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 2 garlic cloves)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (organic is best)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 6-7 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (you can also use dried)
- OPTIONAL: 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro (a great detoxifier for the body)
- Place all ingredients in your blender and blend on high until consistency is nice and smooth. TIP: This also works really well as a sauce. Simply add more water and pour over grains or vegetables.
Perfect Picnic Salsa
- 6 tomatoes, chopped into medium pieces
- 4 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
- 1 seeded and minced jalapeno (OPTIONAL: Use only if you like heat)
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- ½ red onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 limes, freshly squeezed (you can also use lemons)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
- 1 teaspoon pepper, to taste
- ½ -1 cup fresh basil, chopped finely (you can also use fresh cilantro or parsley)
- Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix together to combine.
- Leave in fridge overnight for all flavors to infuse together.
- If you want a smoother dip-like salsa, place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until you reach desired consistency.
- Enjoy as a side or as a dip. Delicious on crackers or crusty breads.