With Food + Love

a springtime recipe and interview

with Sherrie Castellano


CORDELLA MAGAZINE: Along with your blog, which features your own gorgeous photography and delicious recipes, you are deeply interested in nutrition and serve others as a health coach. What brought you to this work?  

SHERRIE CASTELLANO: Failure. And, a lot of soul searching.

It took me five years to get my undergraduate degree, I studied Sociology + Women's Studies at a university in upstate New York. My plan was to move to Colorado immediately upon graduation. And so, I flew to Denver literally after turning in my last final exam and ended up staying there for about five years. I always thought I'd work in the women's health realm, but that never really happened. I spent most of my Denver days partying and being young and careless. I worked a lot of different jobs, most of them in the restaurant industry but there was one that changed the direction of my life. I found myself teaching at a center dedicated to improving the lives of children with autism. This position was both incredibly challenging and rewarding. It was then I started to realize that the food we put in our body directly impacts the way we feel and I had felt miserable for a very long time. Long story short, I got tested for Celiac disease, went gluten-free, moved to Philadelphia with my now husband and became insanely passionate about all things health and nutrition. In 2013 I graduated from Nutrition School, started my own health coaching business and began writing With Food + Love

CM: Many women today feel a disconnection from food -- growing it, gathering it, cooking it, preserving it and even relaxing and enjoying eating it, all are pleasures which are on the cusp of extinction!  Where do you find inspiration to work with food in such a conscious way? 

SC: I'm happiest when I'm creating in my kitchen, it just feels super natural to me. I pull inspiration from the seasons; the colors, the shapes and the different bounty each one yields.  

CM: What is it about the process of creating recipes + feeding people that nourishes you?

SC: Food has the ability to fight and prevent illness. It unites people and cultures from all over the world and it can make a grey day feel blue again. Food is our power -- and there's something so sacred about cooking a meal for someone you love. Cooking, creating, photographing and sharing my work with you on my blog is everything to me. It fills me up on a primal level. Some people paint, I cook. 

CM: As women, our cooking and eating methods + habits are intricately woven with the habits of the women who have gone before us... our mothers, aunts, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers. Sometimes this is a brilliant thing, and sometimes, we must work diligently to untangle ourselves from the tapestry and forge a new trail. Could you tell us a bit about how your cooking style was impacted by the women in your family? What are you grateful for, and what have you had to work at to change?

SC: I am the oldest daughter in a family with four kids and I was taught how to cook at a very young age. I'm sure this was mostly out of necessity so my parents could rely on me to help out during mealtime, but I didn't mind, in fact I loved it. Prior to taking professional cooking classes most of what I had known about preparing food was learned from my mother and grandmother and aunts. I grew up in an Italian home and I knew how to make my grandmother's sauce from memory by the time I was twelve. The strong women in my family showed me how to cook intuitively. We never followed recipes, we just cooked with our hearts and tasted as we went along.

I was lucky enough to grow up in an environment where eating home-cooked meals together was a priority. Dinner was on the table every night and we were expected to be there, no questions asked. At the time I thought eating dinner with my family as such a drag. Now looking back on it, this was such a blessing and big part of my childhood that I now value. But, this was also in the 80s and 90s when food trends focused on low-fat, sugar-free, diet everything. My mother went to Weight Watchers and counted every calorie and it wasn't before long until I started doing the same thing. As a pre-teen I was chubby. I got teased for my weight a lot and that inevitably, negatively impacted the way I viewed food and my body. Slowly I started counting every molecule of food I ate. I became obsessed with this. By high school I grew to be thin and my food became restricted. This mindset followed me for a really long time and well into my late twenties. It wasn't until a few years ago that this perspective started to shift. Now instead of limits and restrictions, I celebrate the foods that fuel me. I count nutrients, not calories. I've embraced a 90 | 10 lifestyle -- eating a mostly plant-based diet 90% of the time and wine and steak and cupcakes the other 10%. My husband also adapted this way of eating and thinking about food and I've seen him shed {+ keep off} 50 pounds over the past few years. He didn't count a single calorie. 

CM: Living in modern American society is difficult, with so few nourishing food traditions and so many diet books, fads, and "revolutions" claiming to be the be-all-end-all. For many women, the kitchen is source of great anxiety and confusion! Do you have any advice for women who may be struggling with this?

SC: Eating healthy really doesn't have to be complicated. My best advice is to eat real food, mostly plants. Challenge yourself to try foods outside of your comfort zone. Head to your farmers' market or local grocer and pick-up foods you are drawn to by their shape and color and texture -- even if you don't know how to cook it. When it doubt, roast it! Vegetables drizzled with a little olive oil and a pinch of good high-quality sea salt magically transforms in the oven. My favorite weeknight go-to meal is roasted veggies {whatever I have on hand} with a side of lentils and a gorgeous green salad. 

Roasted Sugar Snap Peas with Mint + Sea Salt

Notes: this recipe takes about 10 minutes to prep and 20 minutes to cook, and serves two.


1 large bunch of sugar snap peas, about 3 heaping cups
1 cup of mint leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic
juice from 1/2 a lemon {about 1 tablespoon}
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
a few heavy pinches of sea salt

Heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Wash the snap peas, pat dry and trim up the ends.

In a food processor combine the mint, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and black pepper. Pulse until all the mint and garlic is finely chopped. Toss the snap peas in the mint and oil mixture. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread them out in an even layer. Roast for 20 minutes, flipping halfway.

Sprinkle with a generous pinch of sea salt and serve hot and crispy.



Sherrie Castellano

Follow along with Sherrie's beautiful culinary adventures on her blog, With Food + Love, and on Instagram.