Friday, April 4, 2014

Chocolate Cake with Nutella Cream and BIG NEWS!

Let's eat cake! Cause guess what today is? My 30th birthday!

A year ago, I was dreading the big 3-0. I could hardly accept turning 29! It wasn’t that I thought 30 was old, because it’s not. What scared me was the distinct feeling I was running out of time. I had dreams of the things I wanted to do, see and accomplish in life, but because I didn't think they were realistic, I was always content with where I was at. On the outside, my life probably looked pretty darn close to perfect - I was married to an incredible, supportive man, had a successful career, a large and tight knit group of friends, and had traveled all over the world. Life was pretty great. Despite this, I had a growing sense of restlessness and discontentment knowing I wasn't reaching my full potential. Turning 29, I realized I wasn't living life to it's fullest.

So I decided to do something about it. It wasn't overnight, but over the course of this year, I made a few changes. I loved Scott as much as I possibly could. I nurtured new friendships and distanced myself from relationships that were destructive. I did things that scared me. I stopped to smell the roses, metaphorically, and sometimes actually just stopping to smell flowers on our neighborhood walks. I started practicing mindfulness. Slowly, I came to the realization that my dreams weren't a fantasy, but that I actually had it in me to make them a reality. As my 29th year came to a close, I realized it was my best year yet.

I'm not dreading thirty anymore. In fact, I'm pretty damn excited. So why not start this decade out with a bang?

Today, I did something kinda crazy. I resigned from my totally secure, well paying government job.

OMGAOHTIOAFJDIAFOJESAFSHJIFNJ;A IEROR SA <--- My best attempt to express the mixture of excitement, nervousness, sheer terror, and joy that I feel. There are no words.

Starting the end of this month, I am making the leap into private practice. I've always wanted to start a private practice, but I never really believed it was something I could be successful at. And frankly, I probably wasn't ready until now. Now is the right time.

As soon as I made the decision to go into private practice, I started noticing little signs telling me I was making the right choice. Maybe it was God, maybe it was luck, maybe it was pure coincidence, but it was clear everything was falling into place.

The biggest sign was when I got a message from Kara Madsen, Scott's old neighbor, after my mother-in-law shared one of my blog posts on facebook. She is a personal trainer who does private training out of a house she has converted into a fitness studio and offices for other wellness providers. And what would you know, there was room for me!

Five minutes into our conversation, I knew I wanted to join "the healthy house." I am so excited to work alongside a group of strong, wellness-minded women. Kara, is a personal trainer who works individually with women, Joanna is a wellness coach, Jeannie is a small business coach and Shelly is a massage therapist. My office will be in the kitchen(!!!), where I'll have room for individual coaching, cooking demonstrations and even small groups. It's pretty perfect. 

As excited as I am about this new challenge, I'm pretty broken up about leaving my patients at the medical center behind. For the past four years, I've been blessed to work with true heros, men and women who deserve more than anyone else to reach their optimal state of wellness. Working within the confines of the traditional medical model, however, can be restrictive. Afterall, it's a business, and while my goal may be to help each patient to the best of my ability, it's not always possible.

So, I guess this is the part where I need to sell myself. This is the part of private practice I'm least looking forward to - self-promotion has always felt awkward to me. For anyone who may be interested in working with me or knows anyone who may be interested, I am available for individual nutrition coaching and group classes. With my individual clients, I take a holistic approach to nutrition, viewing each client as a unique individual to find the best way to reach their health goals. I provide a individualized sample 5-day sample meal plan and unlimited email support after our appointment. I am also available for group classes, a great, budget friendly option if you have a group of friends with similar health goals. I will also be available for speaking engagements and community events. Read more about my services here. 

You'll be seeing some changes here on Avocado over the next month or so. I'm going to start advertising, which I dislike, but I do have 200+ pounds of dog to feed! You'll likely see some more sponsored posts and product promotion, but I promise, only for products and services I truly believe in! 

To my family, friends, readers, and especially my husband, THANK YOU!! Without your support and encouragement , I never would have had the confidence to take this step! xoxo


Chocolate Cake with Nutella Cream

Serves 8

So, this cake isn't the prettiest, but don't let that deter you. If you prefer something more extravagant, double the recipe to make a layer cake. Even if you prefer a single layer cake, I would still double up the hazelnut cream recipe - I ate leftovers spooned on overnight oats for breakfast all week. Also, if you have a high powered blender/food processor, this would be the time to use it. Mine wasn't so much of a cream as it was a paste, but whatever, it was still delicious and eatable by the spoonful. 

1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup natural cane sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

Nutella Cream:
1 cup hazelnuts, soaked in water at least 4 hours
2/3 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer, blend the coconut oil and sugar until well combined and creamy. Add one egg at a time, blending until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides as needed. Mix in the vanilla. 

With the mixer running on low speed, mix in a third of the flour mixture, then follow with half the almond milk. Add another third of the flour, the remaining almond milk and finish with the rest of the flour. Pour into an oiled, 9-inch cake pan. 

Bake about 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

While the cake is baking, place the hazelnuts in a food processor and blend until they are the consistency of sand. Add the almond milk, vanilla, honey, cocoa and salt and blend again until creamy.

Once the cake has cooled, frost the with nutella cream and serve. 


  1. Hi there! I just started following your blog a few months ago, but I just wanted to tell you YOU CAN DO IT with your new business venture! I also just recently started my own business (a personal chef business) while attending the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I hope to become a certified holistic health coach within the next year and my personal chef business can integrate in with my health coaching business. Anyways, I know it's a scary thing to try to go out on your own and market yourself, but you MUST showcase your skills. After all, you worked hard for them and you have to own it. Don't be afraid to get out there and talk to anyone and everyone about your new business, that's what I've learned so far. The worst someone can say is "no". The best someone can say is they love your passion and are interested in working with you. :)

    You can find my blog with info. on my personal chef business at

    1. Hi Kaylin! Thank you so much for your kind words! It's so scary to go out on your own, but you're totally right, the worst someone can say is no! Thank you so much for following and best of luck to you!

    2. Thank you too, Rachael! You'll do great. Get out there and make awesome things happen. :)

  2. Hi Rachael, I just wanted to chime in with a congrats and a "you go girl!" I'm a relatively new reader and you've quickly become one of my favorite RD blogs. I drool over your recipes, love your writing and think you have great editorial vision in your choice of topics! Best of luck in your new venture!!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind compliments! I actually recently stumbled across your site as well and I just love it! Your photography is gorgeous!

  3. Good for you, follow your heart, I believe as we get older we realize that following our dreams is the way to go and if you can make enough to live on that road the better.

    1. I absolutely agree! I think I would feel better following my dreams and failing than if I didn't try!

  4. Congrats, Rachael! I'm so excited for you as you begin this new chapter in your career. You have an awesome blog and outlook on food and life, so I think you'll thrive and do awesome! Best wishes for you on your new journey!

    1. Thank you so much Allison! I really appreciate your kind words!