Grilling In France!

This is my kind of grilling!

I was staying in the south of France in a family compound in a small town called Marseillette, on the Canal du Midi. The house was nestled in a wonderful garden, on the edge of the Canal.

This garden had everything from a bamboo area, with striped to black varieties, to a vegetable garden, to fruit trees, to a turtle bed. Really – live turtles – about a hundred of them. All of this was surrounded by flowers. Amazing!

IMG_0742The house was very open, with a melodious fountain outside a sliding door that provided the soothing sound of running water any time you wanted it.

This was the grill that was on the back patio, outside of the kitchen, for everyday use. I want one!

The fire was fueled by dried grapevines that had been collected from fields that the government had paid to have dug up. Go figure.

But the result was the most fragrant firewood and flavorful food.

Just imagine….

We would go to the local farmer’s market and be inspired by the choices. Then we would bring them back to the house and fire up those grapevines, then prep the food.

After the vines would burn down to coals, we would place our culinary choices between two flat screens that would hook together on each end to keep the food from falling into the fire.

We would lay the screens on top of the coals and listen to the sizzle. The aroma that filled the air was heavenly, just like the glass of wine that we were enjoying while we waited. OK, glasses of wine.

On this particular day we chose duck breasts, red bell peppers, zucchini and portabello mushrooms.

Hey – somebody’s got to do it!


The seasonings were green, fruity extra virgin olive oil, freshly ground sea salt and black pepper and chopped fresh thyme from the garden. I actually marinated the duck and the vegetables in the same seasonings.

Accompanying this treat was s simple salad of greens and herbs pulled from the garden as the fire burned down. Amazing how wonderful salad can be with ingredients that fresh, drizzled with evoo, sea salt, a little pepper. The lettuces were butter and red bib, and the herbs were Italian parsley, basil and oregano, all from the garden. Love it!

A big bowl of fresh cherries and a plate of cheese for dessert and all was well in my world.

As you can see, all was grilled to perfection. Of course the veggies were great, but the duck breast was sublime.

I had always been a little afraid of duck anything, except pâté, bien sur. OK, and foie gras. I thought everything else would be gamey.

To think I had denied myself of such sumptuosity – is that a word? It is now. That duck breast was heavenly, juicy, luscious and perfectly cooked.

And never underestimate the power of local wine. We had gotten wine from one of the wineries that my “host” uses as gifts for the people who rent his gites.

It was Chateau Etang des Colombes in the Corbieres region of southern France. The wine was a blend of Carignon, Syrah and Grenache, with a wonderful fruit forward, full body that had a little spice on the finish. Perfect to go with the duck breast. Really, perfect to go with anything. I’m a red kind of girl.

IMG_0744That day I thanked the culinary gods for their wisdom and sharing said genius avec moi.

I hope that you all give yourself the gift of grilled duck breast and veggies over smoldering grapevines when the opportunity presents itself.

So there you have my memory for the day. I’m glad that the weather is turning into that grilling and chilling time of year. That is one thing we can learn from the French: It’s ok to relax and enjoy life.

A bientôt mes amis!

Until next time,

Eat On Purpose!

Christia Sale

The Most SELFISH Woman in America!

P.S. Leave me a comment if you have ever had or would like to have grilled duck breast. I would love you to share a recipe that you love or an idea you think would be good.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Bon appétit!




Perfect Watermelon Salad

Happy July 4th everyone!

I don’t know about you, but where I live it is freakin’ hot! So here is my answer to the perfect salad to serve when grilling, to bring to a party at the lake or anywhere! It will also kick up your metabolism and cool you off at the same time. This salad reflects my philosophy of Eating on Purpose.


Spicy Watermelon Salad

1/2 large seedless watermelon, cubed

Juice of one medium fresh lime

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons julienned fresh mint leaves

1/8 teaspoon, or to taste, cayenne pepper


In a large bowl, gently mix the ingredients making sure not to break up the pieces of watermelon, but coating each piece with seasoning. Chill for a couple of hours so the flavors can marry.

Just before serving, lightly sprinkle with course or flaked sea salt. Garnish with sprig of mint.


This salad will give your mouth it’s own culinary celebration! Try it, leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Until next time,

Happy Living!

Christia Sale


Salade Niçoise Makes Me Happy!

How gorgeous is this? Everything I could possibily want in a salad!

Two of my favorite food gurus ever are Jaques Pepin and Julia Child. If you have never seen them in action, it is a must.

The dynamics between these two icons is totally entertaining.

I am a cookbook collector, but I also pride myself in my Jaques Pepin and Julia Child collection of cooking DVDs.

Together and separate, they are both a treat to watch in their full glory. Personality exudes from each one of them. A true treat to behold.

So, when I needed to come up with a menu for an evening of ladies chatting about, Salad Niçoise came to me. Something light, healthy and visually gorgeous.

I know what I wanted it to look like, having seen it before… but where did I see it?

Mais bien sur! On my Julia and Jaques Cooking At Home Collection on salads. Where else!

So out came the DVD set, put in the salads disk into my player, and was transported into the kitchen with them both. Now that is a dream I would have loved to experience.

I know I wanted the composed version of the classic salade niçoise but I wanted to use fresh tuna steaks. So, here is my version of combining two different versions of Jacques and Julia’s recipes.


Salade Niçoise

8 oz. haricot verts, blanched, shocked in ice water, drained

1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 large orange bell pepper, thinly sliced

2 cans artichoke hearts, marinated in evoo, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, dried oregano, salt & pepper

assorted colored grape and cherry tomatoes

1 lb. petite potatoes, assorted colors, boiled to fork tender in salted water (if you can’t find these, use baby potatoes & cut them into quarters)

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

black and green olives (kalamata & castelvetrano are great)

mixed greens

juice of one lemon

1 lb. fresh tuna steak

your favorite vinaigrette


Cover a large platter with mixed greens. Separately dress the potatoes and the green beans with the vinaigrette. Assemble the different veggies on the greens, with the red onion in the center, making a wagon wheel design, as seen in the photo above.

Cut the tuna into equal pieces, or into as many pieces as people you are feeding. You may need more tuna. Four to six ounces should be enough per person. In a medium hot skillet, sauté the fresh tuna in the vinaigrette until it is cooked medium, approximately 4 minutes on each side.

Place the tuna in center of platter on top of the onions. Lightly pour vinaigrette over each of the veggies and the tuna. It will flow down to dress the greens, but make sure you don’t use too much. Just lightly dress.

Sprinkle fresh lemon juice over the tuna and enjoy!


This salad makes me happy. Try it and you see why. Leave me a comment about how it turns out for you. We will compare notes.


Until next time,

Eat on Purpose!

Christia Sale

The Most SELFISH Woman in America!




Austin Food & Wine Festival

I just experienced the first edition of the Austin’s Food & Wine Festival under the umbrella of the FOOD & WINE Magazine.

Up to this point our festival has been called the Texas Hill Country Food and Wine Festival. Much smaller scale, lesser known talent, but still fun.

This year we hit the big time in the food and wine world; chefs like Masaharu Morimoto, Tim Love, Marcus Samuelsson, Andrew Zimmern, Michelle Bernstein, and Gail Simmons to name drop just a little.

Since there is too much to put in a single post, I will break this up over a few.

So first things first:

Tim Love had a hands on grilling demonstration for 200!

There were 100 tables, with two people at each table. There was a Weber charcoal grill between each table to be shared by the two people closest to the grill, so the person on the left side of the table used the grill to their left, right side – right grill. There was also one ice chest for each table containing a bottle of white wine, meat for grilling, waters, broccolinni, lemons and various other accoutrements.

Each participant received an apron, towels, cutting board, a knife, tongs, a basting brush, a meat thermometer, and an assortment of seasonings.

During the demo Chef Love talked you through how to season and properly grill two different types of meat: one being skirt steak and one being a New York Strip. He also shared the proper way to hold a knife and the correct direction to cut the meat.

Then all of the sudden, during the demo, he would call for tequila shots for everybody. It was hilarious! And before and after each shot he would stress NOT to touch the sides of the grill or the fire because they were HOT. Really!

So the participants are grilling meat, drinking wine and taking shots of tequila for the whole 1 1/2 hr. demo. By the time they were done, they didn’t care how the steak turned out! But it was obvious every participant and spectator enjoyed themselves thoroughly!

A couple of the things I learned from him about grilling were 1) after you season your steak the way you think you should, then season it again. Most people under-season the meat they are grilling; 2) after you cook your meat most of the way, taking it off the grill to rest for at least 10 minutes. Then put it back in the grill on the top rack to reheat it. While it is reheating, it will finish the cooking, like in an oven, with the grill lid closed.

BTW – always grill with the lid closed, that’s how you get the smokey flavor and intense heat. And speaking of… there was some serious smoking going on! At one point, the air was so thick with smoke, you could hardly see Chef Tim on the stage!

This was a very impressive undertaking to say the least! This was supposedly the largest hands-on demo ever! I believe it!

Tim Love conducted one of these demos at the beginning of each morning. On day two during his session, he was visited by different celebrity chefs that were between shows. First Masaharu Morimoto came to the stage with cowboy hat in hand. Chef Love got him to sing to the crowd. Chef Morimoto said he was singing a Japanese fishing song. It sounded like the same song he sang in his demo… curious. Then Chef Morimoto went off to possibly serenade other audiences.

Next Marcus Samuelsson showed up. Chef Love commented how Chef Samuelsson was the best dressed chef around. He was sporting plaid pants, white button down, one of his orange restaurant jerseys over the button down that had his name on the back, and topped off the emsemble, literally, with a fedora.

As he was chatting with the crowd, Andrew Zimmern shows up. So the three of them start entertaining. It became blatently obvious that Zimmern’s personality loves the stage. Chef Samuelsson wasn’t as boisterous, but the three chefs were entertaining together, which added a special touch to such a unique event.

Needless to say, if you are a foodie, a Food Network fanatic, or just love attending events like the Austin Food & Wine Festival you would have totally enjoyed this impromptu performance.
I know I’m not the only one out there that truly loves the food world. Food gives us a creative outlet that touches our lives, our homes and our world. From the farm, to the market, to the pan, to the plate, to the smile on people’s faces, food is the one consistent element that sustains life, shares love, and provides a connection to our earth and our Universe.
Stop the fast food and start being an active part of what you eat! Amen!
Until next time,
Eat on Purpose!

The Selfish Woman Resurrects Eating on Purpose

Good day to you all!

Yes, I am resurrecting my food blog Eating on Purpose after a long dormancy. With my attention being on my website The Most Selfish Woman in America ( and my new radio talk show on VoiceAmerica Talk Radio (, I have neglected this lovable website, until now.

I will start posting weekly recipes and info on seasonal produce. This time of the year harvests some of the most homey fruits and vegetables. The kind that our memories are made from: apples, pears, grapes, butternut squash, pumpkin, pomegranate, pecans, root vegetables. And we make them even more memorable: baked apples, pears poached in red wine (ok, maybe not but it is fantastic!), mashed sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, pecan pie… fill in your memory food here.

As my kids were growing up, I would simmer a pot of cloves and cinnamon sticks on the stove when the weather would turn cooler and on through the Winter. Now, when they smell anything seasoned with those spices, they comment on the good memories it brings them. How great is that!?!

So as I continue the tradition, I will think of all the different dishes I usually make at this time of the year, and what the scent of cloves and cinnamon brings to my mind. I will also go to my local farmer’s market and specialty grocery store and see what bins are over flowing with beautiful ingredients. That is your indicator of what More »

Garden on a Plate

Here is a great, colorful breakfast dish that is easy and fast for anytime of the day.

A little prep work on the veggies, and the rest quickly falls into place. One of my favorite things is to have cleaned and cut veggies in plastic bags in the refrigerator. That way the veggies are ready for snacking, or for chopping and adding to other dishes. With just a little time prepping your favorite veggies once or twice a week, you can make almost any dish faster and healthier. This will also make it easier to include fresh veggies into your daily life.

OK, back to the dish. You can use whatever your favorite veggies and cheese are, but the following combination is one of my favorites.

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

3 cremini mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped

2 leaves Kale, blanched in salt water, chopped, or if raw, chopped into small pieces

1/2 tomato, diced

2 large organic eggs

1/2 avocado, diced

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 ounce fontina cheese, grated

Over medium heat, sauté the onion in the coconut oil for about one minute, then add the mushrooms, a little sea salt and freshly ground pepper and cook for another three minutes.

Then add the red bell pepper, kale, and tomato and cook for three minutes, stirring occasionally. Now add your eggs and stir it all together so the eggs scramble into the veggies. Cook for another three minutes, then sprinkle the cheese on top. Turn off the heat, and stir in the avocado.

I love habenero sauce on my eggs, but use what ever your love. Or you can add a chopped serrano when cooking. The hot pepper is yummy but it also increases your circulation.

This is the type of breakfast that energizes your day by providing your body with clean, fresh fuel to get your metabolism going, while packing a burst of nutrients all at the same time! The ultimate in multitasking!

In 10 minutes you will have given your body two servings of vegetables, a multitude of nutrients, and enough protein to last you through your first crisis at work. Bodies handle stress better when they are fortified.

Who knows, this may start a trend at work – Super – Stress – Eliminator – OK, let me work on that line…

Until next time… Eat on Purpose!

Happy Living!

Christia Sale

Perfect Soup for Rainy Day

Need a comforting soup to curl up with on a rainy day?

Try this:  Split Pea and Ham Soup

Besides being incredibly good for your body, this soup is good for your soul. It’s warm, comforting, and satisfying. Served with a crusty french baguette and a simple side salad, this is a great way to wrap up your busy day with a luscious, tasty treat.

Here’s the recipe:

2 white onions – chopped

3 carrots – diced

3 celery stalks – diced

2 garlic cloves – minced

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

12 ounces Nieman Ranch smoked ham – diced

2 cups dried split peas

8 cups organic chicken stock

1 tablespoon dried thyme

2 bay leaves – large ones

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 fresh sprigs of organic parsley

2 teaspoon sea salt – fine course

In a large soup pot, on medium heat, sauté onions, celery and carrots for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Then add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.  Then add the ham and cook 5 more minutes, still stirring occasionally.

Make sure you pick through and then rinse the split peas.  Now add them to the pot, along with 8 cups of organic chicken broth, bay leaves, dried thyme, and parsley.  Cover and simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours.  Make sure you stir occasionally and don’t let the liquid dry up.   If it does, just add some water to the consistency you want.

Note:  When someone says “simmer” that means usually a low or medium low setting, depending on your burner size.

After the 1 1/2 hours if the soup is too “liquidy”, remove the cover and turn up the heat to medium until it gets to the thickness you want.  Add the salt and pepper, and taste for seasoning.  But remember, don’t add the salt until the end.  It will keep the peas from softening.

Now, there are 2 ways to eat this soup:  you can serve as is, with all of it’s wonderful consistency, or you can use a hand blender and puree as much of it as you want, leaving some consistency or make it completely smooth.  Either way, the taste is fabulous and luscious.  But, if you don’t puree the soup, fish out the parsley stems.  If you do puree, take out the bay leaves first.

Another note:  if, by mistake, you get too much salt in the soup, add a small potato or some bland canned beans to absorb the extra salt.  Do this while the soup is still on the heat.  Needless to say, the potato will need to be cut into very small pieces to cook quickly, while you are thickening the soup.


  • onions–cancer-fighting; builds strong bones; protects against heart disease; antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and antiviral; relieves asthma and hay fever symptoms; lowers blood pressure
  • carrots–antioxidant; helps prevent bladder, cervical, prostate, colon, larynx, esophageal and post-menopausal breast cancers; inhibits tumor growth; protects eyes, helps prevent macular degeneration and cataracts; immune system stimulator; helps prevent night blindness
  • celery–appetite control, suppresses carb carvings; lowers blood pressure; increases blood flow; lowers stress levels; good for joints, bones arteries and connective tissue
  • garlic–antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-parasitic;  helps lower bad cholesterol without lowering the good; reduces plaque in arteries; helps prevent platelets in blood from sticking together; cancer-fighting; helps prevent common cold
  • extra virgin olive oil–heart healthy; lowers back cholesterol and raises good; helps lower blood pressure; cancer-fighting; dilates arteries;antioxidant
  • ham–lean protein source
  • split peas–bone healthy; good fiber
  • thyme–powerful antiseptic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory; aids in digestion; relieves chest and respiratory problem
  • parsley–detoxification; inhibits tumors; anti-inflammatory and antibacterial; cancer-fighting; eye protecting; bone building; benefits kidneys and tissue renewal

Each ingredient has a nutritional purpose and a flavor purpose. And it just makes yo feel better! So there you have it!

Until next time . . . Eat on Purpose!

Happy Living!

Christia Sale

Make the Most of Your Grilling

One of the favorite summer activities (for me it’s year round!) is grilling. Steaks, burgers, seafood, veggies, whatever form it takes makes me happy. Grilling is a great way to cook a lot of food without heating up the house. In Texas that means a lot!

Making the most of your grilling can mean cooking enough food to take care of a few meals at one time. Planning ahead and cooking a couple of different proteins and lots of extra veggies can make for quick meals later.

A typical stint at the grill for me includes cooking shrimp kabobs, a pork tenderloin, and three or four different types of veggies.  For the veggies, I always have onions, then I go for an assortment of colors, like red, yellow and orange bell peppers. For my green color, I go for asparagus or zucchini.  I love mushrooms on the grill, whether they are portobellos, cremini, or even button mushrooms. I’ve also grilled carrots, potatoes (both colors), corn on the cob, and basically anything I can get my hands on.

Then I always go for some fruit, be it pineapple, peaches, or plums. The natural sugars caramelize and are divine!

I always eat the seafood the night I grill, then save the other proteins for future meals. As for the veggies, I have some of each color and save the rest. Same with the fruit. I just go with my taste at the time.

Now you have multiple choices for meals the rest of the week. You can cut up some veggies and one of the proteins to make a pasta sauce. You can dice some of the protein to top a salad. You can make a grilled fruit salad or dessert. Your imagination is your only limitation.

The dish in the photo is grilled pineapple and peaches with Agave nectar and lime zest. Simple and fabulous! You could also top it with a little Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon. If adding the yogurt, I would mix the Agave nectar into the yogurt. And another recipe is born . . . .

Incorporating clean, fresh food into your daily diet will contribute to your overall health. Grilling is one way to prepare food with the least amount of additional ingredients and the most amount of flavor. You maintain more of the nutritional benefits by the quick-cooking method that grilling offers. The additional flavor that the flames and smoke gives to food adds a depth that increases the excitement to lean foods. How great is that?

Enjoy the season by grilling outdoors as much as possible. Your waistline and taste buds will thank you!

Until next time . . . Eat on Purpose!

Happy Living!

Christia Sale

Update Getting Your Weight Back Under Control

After seven days of my magic “elixir” and protein regiment, I lost five pounds. Yes, it was mostly water weight, but I needed to get that off my body so I could see what really needs to be done. (Recipe for the elixir is on Recipe page on this site.)

Now I know what I have to do next. Luckily I like exercising and being active. I feel energetic and vibrant when I’m consistently power-walking and lifting weights. I think more clearly and sleep more deeply. So, back to my power-walking five times a week, and lifting free weights three times a week.

And none too soon. Shorts and bathing suits are peaking out from the depths the closet, and I’m not ready! But I will be if it kills me!

I’m also going to stick with eating small meals four times a day. I am so motivated by the results I had from the first seven days that I’m going to continue the same regiment and add fruit. I’ll do this until I get to the size I want. Remember the more different colors you eat in a day the better.

I am actually looking forward to getting up in the mornings and getting at it again. I’m excited about how much better I’m feeling and how much more energized I am. I don’t work well with that sluggish feeling. It makes me grumpy. And it’s hard to feel sassy when you feel grumpy!

To recap, 2-3 oz. of lean protein and 1 cup of veggies four times a day, about every three hours. Drink 100 oz. of water each day. I put a little cayenne pepper and fresh lemon juice to the water. The cayenne increases your metabolism and the fresh lemon juice has a natural diuretic effect. And now I’m also adding about 1/2 cup of fruit each time. Good fruit choices are berries of all kinds, pineapple, papaya, grapefruit, cherries, kiwi, mango and melon. Stick with the fruits of the season.

The fresh fruits and vegetables will have an energizing effect on your body, which in turn will make you feel vibrant and renewed. Behold the power of food!

So there you go. If it works for me, it will work for you. You just have to plan ahead and be prepared to take your meals and water where ever you go. It’s just as easy to take two storage containers with food to work as it is one. It’s also easy to plan your meals around meetings or carpool.

Also, when you need to eat out with family or for business, don’t sweat it. Just enjoy yourself, then get back on your eating plan. Consistency is the key. Your splurging now and again isn’t going to ruin your progress. It might even help keep you motivated!

Don’t ever beat yourself up for “falling off the wagon.” Just get back on! There is no room for guilt here. It’s fun to splurge now and again. It’s natural. It makes life fun.

But the confidence and pleasure you get when you take control of your body and your life is also fun! Try it!

Until next time . . . Eat on Purpose!

Happy Living!

Christia Sale

Lost Four Pounds in Three Days

That shows you how badly I needed this cleansing!

The goal is to get my body’s attention, to clean out the sludge accumulated over the winter and turn up my metabolism.

I started a cleansing “elixir” and protein regiment on Monday, and as of today, I’ve lost four pounds. Don’t think that is all fat. Most of it is fluid, but that is also important. I want to flush out stagnant fluid and drink in a fresh, clean flow of energy.

To recap, my only intake is my magic “elixir” of leeks, leafy greens cooked in water and two to three ounces of lean protein (fish, eggs or chicken) four times a day. I am also drinking 100 ounces of water with fresh lemon juice and cayenne each day. I originally said I was going to do this for five days, but changed my mind. I’m having such great results, I’m going for seven days, then I’ll reassess. Bathing suit season is coming up after all.

The elixir is basically leeks, onions and leafy greens, but you can use this as an opportunity to clean out that vegetable drawer. The goal thought is still leafy greens and leeks for the cleansing effect. The recipe is flexible, but a basic guide is on my recipe page. Since you don’t salt the elixir when it’s made, add a little sea salt and a little coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil when you serve it. But try the coconut oil.  It adds a fabulous flavor, and has a satiating effect.

The protein is to maintain and promote muscle. The more muscle you have, the more fat you burn. Also, your body needs protein for energy, brain function and to stimulate metabolism. For convenience, I have been eating wild, canned salmon with the juice of one lemon. One can will take care of two meals. Tuna also works. Chicken breasts cooked in a little extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil is also great. Just make sure that you weigh it. It’s easy to eat too much. Same with fresh fish, which is my preference. And remember, don’t season with salt until you are ready to eat the protein, and be sparing with it. Fresh or dried herbs are great for seasoning, and add a wonderful dimension of flavor.

The 100 ounces of water with fresh lemon juice and cayenne pepper is also cleansing and stimulating. The lemon juice is a natural diuretic, and the cayenne pepper stimulates metabolism. And the volume alone promotes “flushing.”

These three things combined with daily exercise will get me back on the right track for a healthy, active lifestyle, which is our ultimate goal.

I already feel lighter, brighter and more energetic. I call that a natural high!

I’ll get back with you after my seven days and let you know my results. If I can do it, you can do it! It’s time!

Who know, you might like the way you feel!

Until next time . . . Eat on Purpose!

Happy Living!

Christia Sale