Simply Perfect Food

There are some pretty big, crazy, awesome changes (and I can’t wait to tell you about them) that have had our family dining out more than usual. While I’ve really enjoyed some of the meals we’ve had and restaurants we’ve visited, I miss routine and creating simple meals at home.

There are some people who lose weight during stressful times. They lose their appetite completely. I am the polar opposite of that. When things get stressful for me, I want sugary, fatty, filling, sweet, salty, ohh so ooey, gooey, food. My 20 something body handled those moments with grace and barely a blip on the scale. My 40 something body punishes me immediately. I gain weight, feel sluggish and get grumpy with a capital B. Anyone that spends time with me wants to avoid that as much as I do.

I don’t think the craziness in my life is going to end soon, so I am taking steps to eat real food and identify a few simply perfect foods to eat every day. Just like fewer options in my closet has drastically improved my life, I think fewer options in the kitchen will help too.

Simply Perfect Food

Green veggies (leafy and crunchy)
Crispy kale, soft baby lettuce, arugula, fennel, and broccoli are my favorites.

Creamy, good-fatty, chameleon like in smoothies, beautiful with beans and salsa.

Colorful fruits and veggies
Orange peppers, all berries, tomatoes, clementines, bananas, lemons.

Noodles, rice and beans
Not the main course but the glue for stir fry veggies, mexican delights and light pasta dishes.

Dark, salty, spicy and just a little bit.

If you want to eat simply perfect food, mix and match some of the above along with your healthy favorites.

I reached out to my expert foodie friends and their cookbooks to find delicious recipes that require no oven, little equipment and simply perfect ingredients for any time of day.



  • Paul Jarvis and I are on the same page with our affection for simple, clean, plant-based food. His ebook Eat Awesome is awesome because there are no hard and fast rules. For example, his Mexican feast calls for rice, beans, avocado, salsa, cashew cream and corn tortillas, but how much of what you include is up to you. I’ll be adding crunchy greens and making this one of my go-to lunches. I’ll probably include Kris Carr’s Green Chile Guacamole too from Crazy Sexy Kitchen: 150 Plant-Empowered Recipes to Ignite a Mouthwatering Revolution.


  • When the lovely Jules Clancy sent me her new cookbook, Five Ingredients, Ten Minutes, I knew it would have at least a temporary place in my collection. (until I implement the just one cookbook project) I can’t wait to try her soba noodle salad with tofu and lime.

One day, with a little help from Jules’ 30 Dinners in 30 Days, I might become more streamlined in the kitchen, but for now, I’ll just keep things simple. Salads, stirfrys, smoothies and an occasional treat will make up the bulk of my meals.

When things get busier than usual, or crazier than I like, I am going to reach for the simply perfect food that doesn’t require fancy equipment, recipes or preparation to enjoy. It will be a great reminder that some things are always simple.

I would love to hear about your favorite simple food and recipes and if you are going to try any of the recipes I mentioned above.



  1. says

    Hi, Courtney. Can’t wait to hear about your exciting new changes!

    We’re living in Mexico right now, and the access to avocados and other fresh fruits and veggies means we are eating very well with almost no effort.

    I like to halve an avocado and pull out the seed, then score it with a knife so there is a grid on the meat of the avocado. Then I put some fresh salsa or pico de gallo in the middle, and then spoon it out. It’s a great addition to a light lunch or as a snack on its own. And it’s really pretty!

  2. says

    I have started beginning my day with a Green Smoothie. I find that I always used to slump in energy in the middle of the day, but now due to the change in my breakfast, I have high energy all day long. There are many different ways to make Green Smoothies – I use baby spinach, banana, mixed berries, chia seeds, coconut water, and filtered water. It always turns out so yummy that I am happy to chug it down.

  3. says

    These are fantastic ideas! I am especially taken with the green breakfast bowl. That one is a killer!

    One of our faves is Zip-Zap Beans. Red kidney beans and a nice mustard for a dipping sauce. Yep, that’s it. Meaty, filling and delicious. Wrote a post about them last month if anyone’s interested:

    • Courtney Carver says

      Thanks CJ! You won’t be disappointed with the Green Breakfast Bowl. It’s awesome!

  4. says

    Hey Courtney,

    I always love your posts about simple eating. My husband and I are always striving to eat healthy on a budget and we don’t want to spend all of our time in the kitchen crafting fancy meals. We run into one little problem, though, that I would love some input on. How do you manage to keep up adequate caloric intake while eating a plant-based diet? We’re some of the rare few concerned about eating more calories, as opposed to less, in order to maintain our weight. I usually find myself trying to fill in the caloric holes with bread, pasta, and rice. How do you manage this, if you’ve ever had to do it consciously? Or, in your personal opinion, do you think the quality of food is more important than calories?

    • Courtney Carver says

      Hi Christin, getting enough calories has never been an issue for me, but I do eat bread, pasta and rice. Even if you were eating fruits/veggies/nuts/healthy oils, I don’t think getting enough calories would be that big of a challenge unless you are dealing with a special condition. You could always supplement with protein shakes like Vega too, but again, this isn’t something I’ve had an issue with.

  5. says

    Very inspiring post! I’ve been trying to find more food-related posts. I ordered your books today and I’m looking really forward to reading them and the other 3 books that come with the bundle. Oh and I looove chocolate, avocado, fruits, and nuts like cashews! Not all together of course. Haha! I’m going to try the Green Breakfast Bowl you mentioned. :)

  6. says

    I’ve been experimenting these past 2 weeks with a slow carb diet and have really limited what I eat. One of the suggestions is to select a few meals and repeat them over and over. I’ve found it freeing…and I’m not getting tired of them at all.

  7. says

    I totally hear you on the stress eating! We’re going through some changes right now, too, and my waistline is certainly showing it. Thanks for the ideas–we definitely could afford to work some whole foods back into our diet.

    Oh, and I am very excited to hear about your changes. Best of luck!

  8. Mark says

    Thanks for sharing the Green Breakfast Bowl recipe! I tried it yesterday and it was great. I froze the banana and pineapple overnight, and used flax seed and coconut milk…it honestly tasted like I was eating delicious green ice cream for breakfast, it was amazing.

  9. Ali says

    Hi Courtenay. I do enjoy reading your posts. I live with my 11 year-old Son and whilst I like the idea of having a few staple meals I find I feel guilty at the thought of not providing a broad enough range of foods for my Son. We are both vegetarian. Any tips for the variable of having just one adult and one child to cook for without making it too simple to be boring for him?

    Many Thanks