Food Blogger Michelle Smith Offers Easy Recipes with Healthy Ingredients


Kristina’s Bookshelf


The Whole Smiths Real Food Every Day:
Healthy Recipes to Keep Your Family Happy Throughout the Week
By Michelle Smith
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021)

With two young children, Livermore food blogger Michelle Smith knows the challenges of finding tasty, balanced dishes she can prepare quickly on busy weeknights. In her second cookbook, Smith shares recipes for easy, satisfying meals made from minimally processed ingredients. When possible, she tries to avoid grains, dairy, sugar, soy, and other ingredients some people find troublesome. There’s an index table at the back of the book so readers can search recipes by “gluten-free,” “paleo,” “vegan,” and a variety of other terms. Even the book’s organization suggests quick and easy with sheet-pan suppers, five-ingredient recipes, one-pot wonders, meals in 30 minutes or less, and Instant-Pot recipes. A list of 26 kitchen hacks like, “Use a handheld mixer to shred chicken,” offers useful tips. This is a helpful book for anyone with food sensitivities looking to enjoy casual favorites that satisfy adults as well as kids.

Q&A with Michelle Smith

What’s your favorite place for getting takeout during the pandemic?

Melo’s Pizza and Pasta in Livermore has been our go-to for pizza night. My favorite is their Gluten-Free Four Cheese Pizza with Kalamata olives on top.

Any other spots that offer paleo, gluten, sugar-free, etc., options that you like? 

I love Range Life in Livermore as they use local and seasonal ingredients. When they have crudo (any kind) on the menu, it’s a must order. The Press (also in Livermore, and Pleasanton too) always has gluten-free and dairy-free options available and is always a favorite.

Local specialty shops you hit up for supplies?

We love Tokyo Fish Market in Berkeley and have been doing lots of DIY sushi nights at home. They always have such a great selection of fresh, sushi-grade fish on hand.

How about desserts?

Dan Good Cookies (Livermore) is always a favorite for a sweet treat, and they have gluten-free options available.

Tell us why you like using avocado oil in your Firecracker Cauliflower and other recipes?

It has a more neutral flavor than olive oil and works well in the dish.


Edible East Bay’s book editor Kristina Sepetys is eager to share her ideas and book recommendations with our readers. 


Firecracker Cauliflower

Excerpted from THE WHOLE SMITHS REAL FOOD EVERY DAY © 2020 by Michelle Smith. Photography © 2020 by Michelle Smith and Jennifer Skog. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Photo by Michelle Smith, courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Serves 4

I called this recipe Firecracker Cauliflower not because it’s so damn spicy and explosive (it’s not that high on the spicy factor) but because someone should be launching a gorgeous fireworks display every time you take a bite. It is that good! Every. Single. Bite. Should be celebrated.

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup roasted salted peanuts, crushed

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss the cauliflower, 1 tablespoon of the avocado oil, and the salt in a large bowl. Spread the cauliflower evenly on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender and lightly browned. (If you have some charred bits, even better! Char = flavor.)

Combine the remaining 2 teaspoons avocado oil, the chili-garlic sauce, coconut aminos, and lime juice in a small bowl. Add the crushed peanuts and stir.

When the cauliflower is done, transfer it to a clean large bowl and pour the sauce over the top. Gently stir the cauliflower to coat it with the sauce. Serve.