Baking a chicken in the oven is super easy!
The Easiest Dinner to Make
Are you in a time-crunch? Does it stress you out? Do you wish you could figure out how to put a healthy and satisfying dinner on your family’s table, day-after-day? With all the demands of a ‘normal’ day, here is an easy-to-the-table solution I hope you’ll try. Take a deep breath, nice and slow, and then get to this plan for the easiest dinner to make!
The Menu: Baked Whole Chicken with Rice or Peas, Baby Carrots & Cut up Cantaloupe
The Grocery Shopping List:
Tip: Look into your dry pantry and fridge before going to the grocery store. If you’ve already got any of the items on this list, then don’t buy them. Use what you already have!
- Whole chicken to bake at home, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and dry herbs such as basil, oregano; 350 degrees; 1-1/4 hours (or buy an already-cooked Rotisserie Chicken to save time)
- Minute Rice that cooks in 10 minutes, white or brown
- Baby carrots in a small bag
- Cantaloupe to peel and cut up at home (or buy the already cut-up cantaloupe to save time)
More Easy Meals to Make
Planning easy and healthy meals isn’t easy. But, it is possible with on-target resources. For starters, here is my free report called, ‘3 Tasty Meals for Busy Families’ — download yours today!
Egg fritatta is easy to make on a busy weeknight!
Eggs are Easy!
Eggs make an easy and tasty meal when you add a slice of whole grain toast and a colorful fruit salad. As a kid, I loved to decorate eggs and then find them in my Easter basket. I also loved to find them on my breakfast plate, scrambled, or in my French toast, or made into a deviled egg at a backyard picnic. It’s so easy and affordable with eggs, and most everyone I know has a dozen in their fridge at all times.
Eggs are Nutritious!
All year long, eggs are a mighty protein option for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Their overall nutrition, at only 70 calories per egg, is equally impressive. Be sure to ‘click around’ this egg-cellent website with great information about eggs.
Egg Fritatta Recipe!
Ingredients: 6 fresh large eggs; 1/4 cup milk; 1 cup chopped veggies like onion, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms (or substitute 1/2 with cooked lean sausage); 1/3 cup shredded cheese; pinch salt; pinch pepper; herbs of choice.
How to: Preheat oven to 400; Whisk eggs with milk, salt, pepper and herbs; Spray pie pan with oil spray; Place mixed veggies into pie pan; Pour egg-milk on top; Place into oven for 10 minutes; Remove from oven carefully and sprinkle cheese on top; Place back into oven for 10-15 min. until eggs are set. Eat hot or chilled the next day.
Cooking with Eggs!
If your goal is to adopt a healthier eating plan, then eggs can get you started. A hard boiled egg for breakfast? Egg salad for lunch? Egg fritatta for supper? Get into the kitchen with your carton of eggs for home-cooked and nutritious meals the easy way! For other kitchen resources, check out my Tasty Booklets with easy menus, shopping lists and recipes. It’s all good!
What’s in your spring grocery basket?
Spring is Coming!
Spring cannot come too soon this year for most of us in the Eastern part of the US. There is much to look forward to: warmer weather; crocus and daffodil shoots poking up from the melting snow; birds singing and frolicking about; neighbors venturing out for a walk or run; and some fantastic, seasonal foods to take advantage of.
What’s Seasonal in the Spring?
Spring at the store means some great quality and great buys on foods like asparagus, Florida berries, spinach, kale, leaf lettuces, radishes, spring onions and garlic. The weekly grocery ad will give you that ‘heads up’ on what to put into your meal plan for the coming week – for variety and value. By setting aside 30-45 minutes on a slower day of your week for meal planning, you will benefit from an organized plan along with tasty and healthy meals of the season.
Spring Meals to Try!
Breakfast: Whole grain toaster waffle + vanilla yogurt + Florida blackberries + herb tea or coffee *Or use frozen mixed berries as a mix-in with the yogurt – yum!
Lunch: Whole wheat tortilla wrapped around canned tuna salad made with light mayo, chopped celery and minced spring onions + baby carrots + Florida strawberries + water
Dinner: Broiled Spicy Chicken thighs + roasted sweet potato chunks & spring radishes + steamed spring kale or spinach + yogurt/juice smoothie *Or if you prefer another option, here is a favorite recipe with chicken breasts.
Spring Habit Changes!
Taking a new look at your nutrition habits this spring is a smart idea. Shake off winter and spring forward by slowing down and practicing mindfulness as you plan, shop for and prepare your meals and snacks. What’s to gain? A new outlook on ‘healthy’ – that’s what! Join me for daily tips on facebook, a weekly blog with search, and a free report about cooking healthier meals at home. Happy almost Spring!
These are honey tangerines ~ so juicy and sweet!
Eating Seasonally in Winter with Citrus!
There are quite a few good reasons to eat citrus fruit when it’s ‘in season,’ like the tree-ripened flavors, finding reasonable prices for lots of varieties, and the bonus of vitamin C. If you eat one citrus fruit every day this winter, then you’ll be strengthening your body’s ability to fight off illness. Not only that, vitamin C is an antioxidant so it helps protect all the cells of your body. Here’s a chart of Florida-grown citrus varieties you can choose from.
7 Ways to Add Winter Citrus to Your Day!
1. Squeeze an orange into your smoothie.
2. Slice a lemon, lime or tangerine into your water glass.
3. Squeeze an orange and grate a little of the zest onto your fish.
4. Slice a grapefruit and an orange, then layer them for dessert.
5. Toss segments of orange into a spinach salad and dress lightly with vinaigrette.
6. Squeeze an orange onto cut apple slices so they don’t turn brown.
7. Toss a Clementine into yours and your child’s lunch bag.
How will you add seasonal citrus to your breakfast, lunch and dinner? Please join me on Facebook for tips about this and other small steps to better nutrition!
You can make this tasty citrus parfait in minutes!
Citrus Fruits & Vitamin C!
In the winter, I recommend we all pump-up our intake of vitamin C from citrus fruits. There are so many choices like sweet & seedless Clementines, grapefruit, tangerines, oranges, lemons, limes, and the list goes on. The great thing about getting your daily dose of vitamin C from citrus fruits is that you get a nutrient-rich package deal of vitamin C along with fiber, potassium, antioxidants, healthy carbs and a really sweet flavor! Here are all the details about vitamin C.
Grow Your Own Citrus Tree!
It is super easy to grow a lemon or lime tree at home and a fun project for kids, teens or adults. Just buy a citrus fruit at the grocery store, harvest the seeds and pop them in a pot. Here’s a 3 minute video on how to grow a lemon tree.
Citrus Parfait Recipe!
Clementine orange, Nonfat Greek style vanilla yogurt, low fat Ricotta cheese, graham crackers
Prep Steps (2 parfaits):
1. Get out a small to medium bowl.
2. Into the bowl, add 1 cup nonfat Greek style vanilla yogurt and 1/2 cup low fat Ricotta cheese.
3. Stir yogurt and Ricotta together until smooth.
4. Peel the Clementine and separate into segments.
5. Crush 1 long graham cracker into crumbs. I put the cracker into a sealed baggie and then use my rolling pin to gently make it into crumbs.
6. Using a clear glass, make layers with the creamy yogurt-Ricotta, Clementine segments and cracker crumbs.
Citrus & Healthy Eating!
Citrus fruits are one great choice for healthy eating. So are all fresh fruits and vegetables. If you want to feel better and stay healthier, be sure to make colorful fruits and veggies a part of every meal! For easy-to-fix meals and recipes that include fruits and veggies, start with a meal planning and/or recipe resource from the Market Basket Nutrition E-Store. Happy Citrus Time!
Nutritious, delicious, full of what makes and keeps you healthy!
Recapping the Year & Saying Thank-You!
As a busy year ends, I try to take time to reflect on those who have trusted me to help ‘tweak’ their nutrition. Thank you to all my 2014 clients who have inspired me, taught me, and reassured me that taking the path to better nutrition, no matter how tough, is definitely worth it. Here are the kind of things my 2014 clients have said:
* I like it when we meet because you remind me to make good nutrition a priority.
* I needed someone like you to help me manage my meal planning overwhelm.
* I didn’t know how big a difference it would make to change my meal times. I feel so much better.
* Since re-working the after school snacks, my kids eat a better dinner.
* I was amazed that when I put out a new veggie, the entire family was willing to try it.
* My grocery bill is lower now and I feel so much more organized at the store.
* I realize that switching to better quality foods makes my entire day go better.
Planning for a New Year!
A fresh start, with ongoing support, is your ticket to feeling better, managing better and becoming a good nutrition leader for those you care about the most. Please email me for the support of a caring, experienced registered dietitian. It may be the most important contact you make in 2015! Click here to learn a little more about my nutrition education services in Winston-Salem, NC. Click here to sign up and receive my free report, 3 Tasty Menus for Busy Families and Everyone, no matter where you live!
Happy New Year!
This is a tasty, savory side.
Corn Casserole = Great Side Dish
Last night at my friend’s dinner party, I tasted corn casserole for the first time. I’ve had plenty of corn muffins and corn-on-the-cob in my life, but never a casserole made with corn. It was so impressive as a side to our nice dinner that I tweaked it into a corn casserole with a healthy twist.
Corn Casserole = Handy Make-Ahead Dish
I’m partial to recipes that are not only healthier than average, but that are make-ahead-ready. Are you? Cooking it up the night before or even in the morning – on a weekday off work or a weekend day – saves a ton of time. This corn casserole fits my handy, make-ahead model and that’s good for everyone.
Corn Casserole = Yellow & Green
Did I mention that I’ve incorporated a green veggie into this corn casserole recipe? It really seems to work with the corn and we can all use a little more green for all its nutrition advantages. What I’ve done to make this a healthy twist recipe for all seasons is to use fresh-frozen corn, fresh-frozen spinach, ground cumin, onions and other tasty ingredients.
Corn Casserole Recipe – 8 side dish servings
2, 10 ounce packages frozen chopped spinach
1 package 10-12 ounce packages frozen corn
1 14-1 ounce can of creamed corn
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon red cayenne pepper (or use more for a bigger kick)
1 tablespoon butter, slightly melted or at least very soft
2 tablespoons shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Thaw the spinach on medium power in the microwave or on medium low heat on the stove. Drain all water, pressing in a colander and squeezing in your (clean) hands.
3. Thaw corn in microwave or overnight in the refrigerator.
4. Spray a medium sized casserole dish or 9×9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
5. In the casserole dish, stir together spinach, both corns, onions, spices and butter.
6. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on the very top.
7. Bake for 25 minutes, until slightly browned on top.
Corn Casserole = Cooking at Home
Homemade dinners are the best, aren’t they? Here is one side that’s quick and easy, as it transforms a simple grilled chicken breast or fish fillet into a more interesting meal. For other quick and easy meal ideas, join me on Facebook or Pinterest. Let’s brainstorm ideas together!
1. Start with a big handful of washed spinach & steam it
2. Scramble 2 eggs and pour into the pan with spinach
3. Cook spinach and egg together until done
So Easy, So Tasty, So Healthy, So Filling!
This Easy Egg Scramble with Spinach is a smart solution to challenges we all face every day.
Need a quick, filling breakfast? Crave a new lunch and tired of sandwiches or salads? Searching for a lighter dinner that adds a green veggie to your day? This Easy Egg Scramble with Spinach will solve all the above:)
It’s easy as 1-2-3. Follow the steps above and then add your final flair at the table.
Make this Easy Egg Scramble with Spinach into a Meal!
Latin flair: Top with salsa, chopped cilantro and light sour cream or plain nonfat Greek yogurt. Eat with a warm corn tortilla.
German flair: Add a chicken or turkey sausage, steamed red or green cabbage and a slice of rye bread.
Italian flair: Add a side serving of pasta with a little olive oil and garlic powder and a few olives.
Keep it Simple!
This Easy Egg Scramble with Spinach is simple and smart. So are the daily Facebook Tips I post to help you through a busy day with good nutrition. Please Like my facebook page and learn simple nutrition solutions day-by-day. It’s a great way to eat better, feel better and spend less on your groceries!
Do you need a crisp and healthy lunch idea?
This is a guest blog by Kaylie Chrismon.
Mason Jar Salads!
One of the worst things about packing a healthy lunch is having a soggy salad. When your salad sits in salad dressing all morning, the spinach and lettuce become wilted and you may even throw it out and choose a not-as-healthy option.
Putting your salad in a mason jar and layering the toppings appropriately can keep your salad crisp, fresh, and perfect at lunchtime. Mason jars are also convenient and reusable.
How to build your mason jar salad from the bottom up:
Bottom layer: your dressing – putting dressing in the bottom keeps it from making other ingredients, especially your greens, wilted – try the simple combination of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, or add some cottage cheese, or choose your favorite healthy salad dressing
Next layer: other wet ingredients that can make your salad wilted, like chopped tomatoes
Next layer: drier ingredients that will not affect your greens, like carrots, bell peppers, radish slices, cheese, olives, cucumbers, artichokes, hard boiled egg slices, celery.
Next layer: completely dry ingredients like nuts, seeds, and croutons
Top layer: greens – try spinach, mixed greens, or even baby kale!
You can either eat these straight from the jar if you are taking them to school or work, or you can pour them onto a plate and eat them this way if you are at home. If you decide to eat them straight from the jar, just give them a good shake to get your salad dressing evenly distributed.
Making salads in a mason jar also makes for easy meal prep! Once a week, sit out 4-5 mason jars and layer your ingredients so that you have salads you can grab in a hurry.
Challenge: Since it’s fall, try to think of ingredients that are seasonally appropriate, like apples and butternut squash! Chop apples to put in your salad or roast butternut squash cubes to add sweetness. Dried cranberries and pomegranate seeds are other great additions for fall.
About our Guest Blogger. Kaylie Chrismon is a Nutrition Grad Student at UNC-Greensboro with the goal of becoming a registered dietitian. She loves to cook and Kaylie writes her own blog here.
Is your grocery cart full of healthy choices?
What is A Grocery Store Tour?
- Overwhelmed by all the varieties in the grocery store?
- Confused by food labels and stressed out by rising food costs?
- Worried about the choices in your grocery cart?
On a grocery store tour, you will:
- Walk through the store with Cindy, a registered dietitian with 17 years in the grocery industry
- Target specific aisles to explore for healthy choices
- Learn to shop for easy meal solutions that meet your needs
- Become more confident looking for good nutrition at an affordable price
- Feel free to ask questions and know you can trust the answers
Grocery Store Tours are a fun and educational way to improve the nutrition in your cart as you become more confident, better organized and stretch your food budget! For an individual or small group, a grocery store tour will make those shopping mysteries come clear – once and for all.
Read more details about Cindy’s Grocery Store Tours and her other services by clicking here. Remember, there is no better time to start fresh with a healthy lifestyle than today!
Filling layers of lasagne with butternut squash and kale is a healthy, fall twist.
Lasagne with Layers of Goodness!
From what I can tell, pasta is a favorite ‘go to’ food for everyone’s quick meals. After all, it falls into the comfort food category and it can be simple or more exotic. What goes in between the layers of lasagne can become a fun and creative project, I recently found out. And what I came up with was Lasagne with a Fall Twist.
For more quick ‘go to’ meals, click here and also click here.
Lasagne with a Fall Twist – How To!
Here’s how I made this tasty and unique lasagne:
1. Use a Homemade Marinara Sauce that is simple and full of flavor.
2. Fill one layer with roasted, mashed up butternut squash. I seasoned mine with a little olive oil, salt and pepper to roast it. Easy peasy.
3. Fill one layer with chopped and steamed kale. I didn’t add anything to mine when I steamed it. Nothing but fresh kale.
4. Fill one layer with reduced fat ricotta cheese and crumbled feta.
5. Cook it nice and slow, at 350 degrees for about one hour for a 9 x 9 inch pan. I watch the top and cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil if it starts getting too browned, about half way done. And, I do not pre-cook the lasagne noodles.
Lasagne & Creative Deliciousness!
Being creative in the kitchen can bring great results and lasagne is one example. Sometimes I add canned and flaked tuna to my lasagne instead of layered veggies or extra lean ground meat. Sometimes I add spinach and lots of mushrooms. The layers are fill-able with any combination you can think up, so please give it a try. For a starter menu planning booklet or recipe collection, check out my Tasty Series. Each e-book has 15 ideas for you to get creative with!
Vegetable Soup makes the kitchen smell so good!
Soup Comforts as it Nourishes!
If there is a perfect comfort food then it must be soup. I’ve been a soup lover for most of my life and one of my favorites is homemade vegetable soup. The great thing about homemade vegetable soup is that you can make it so many different ways. You can add lean stew beef or not. You can add leftover cooked chicken or not. You can add fresh veggies or frozen veggies. Basically, anything goes.
Here are 2 more delicious soups you can make, in your kitchen. I fell in love with Slovenian Sauerkraut & Potato Soup when I once traveled to Slovenia. And, I also adore Lentil Soup which I make about once a week from October – March. Both of these will comfort and nourish you in the nicest way.
Homemade Vegetable Soup!
Tip: Use the recipe ingredients as your grocery shopping list!
2 tablespoons Olive oil
2-4 cloves Garlic, peeled & minced
1 large (or 2 small) Onions, peeled & chopped
2 large ribs/stalks Celery, chopped
3 large (or 4 small, not baby carrots) Carrots, peeled & sliced
1-1/2 quarts Vegetable broth
2 medium Bell peppers, chopped
4 medium Roma tomatoes, chopped
2-3 inch wedge Green cabbage, chopped (or try red cabbage instead)
3/4 cup Lima beans, frozen
1/2 cup (or one large handful) Fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon Pesto (or, as a substitute, 4-6 chopped fresh basil leaves)
Making the Soup
1. In a large pot, with a lid, heat olive oil to medium.
2. Add prepared garlic, onions, celery, carrots. Saute while stirring about 5 minutes. This gets the flavors going.
3. Add all other ingredients to the pot.
4. Cover the pot with a lid and reduce heat to low.
5. Cook for 1 – 1-1/2 hours.
6. Serve right away. Or, allow soup to cool, refrigerate (up to 3 days) or freeze (up to 3 months) for later.
More Homemade Vegetable Soup Ideas!
If you want to make a Vegetable-Beef Soup, then buy lean stew beef (sirloin) at the grocery store as an extra ingredient. Brown it in step #2 above. If you want to make a Vegetable-Chicken/Turkey Soup, then use up leftover cooked chicken or turkey by cutting it into bite-size pieces and adding it 10 minutes before the soup is finished cooking. This is a versatile soup in terms of veggies, too. Chop up what you like, add some fresh herbs, and keep it full of colors for the best nutrition. For other handy tips, please join me on Facebook and get my free report, 3 Easy Menus for Busy Weeknights. Market Basket Nutrition offers you daily guidance to help move you closer and closer to your healthy lifestyle goals!
Have you ever tried a green smoothie?
With all the interest in easy green smoothie recipes these days, I finally tried one. Funny that a registered dietitian waited so long but I just did. Here’s a recipe for one that’s super-easy other than cleaning out the blender. Oh well, nothing’s perfect. A smoothie, green or not, can be a great breakfast item, snack or special drink for celebrating as long as you’re careful to use healthy ingredients. Here’s a link to some other great, healthy snack ideas and some of them go perfectly with a green smoothie!
Easy Green Smoothie Recipe – only 5 ingredients
1 cup milk – I used 1% cow’s milk but other milk works too
1 ripe, cut-up, frozen banana – this makes it smooth and sweet
1 cup spinach leaves, thick stems pulled off – or if you love kale, that will work too
2 tablespoons chunky peanut butter – or sub almond butter if you like that better
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Measure all 5 ingredients into a blender and blend about 1-2 minutes until smooth. Drink. This makes one big glass or 2 smaller glasses.
Easy Green Smoothie Recipe
1. Gives you a sweet flavor
2. Breaks up the monotony of cereal for breakfast
3. Gives you one green veggie, easy peasy
Don’t wait like I did. Give this Easy Green Smoothie Recipe a try this week for great taste and some extra special nutrition. Then let me know how you liked it! For daily tips and more easy recipes, I recommend liking my facebook page. Every day, you’ll find out something new & nutritious!
Good nutrition begins in your grocery cart!
Are You a Busy Mom?
I meet a lot of caring moms in my line of work. Some work outside the home and some work as stay home moms. Some have little kids and some have teens. Some are already making healthy food choices and some are just getting ready to start. But, all the moms I meet have one thing in common — they are extremely busy people! So, these easy, healthy ideas are for you!
Easy, Healthy Ideas for Busy Moms
1. Fresh fruit, like apples and bananas, are everyone’s favorites. Keep a bowl out on the kitchen counter and try your best to keep it full for healthy snacking or part of breakfast.
2. Fresh veggies, like baby carrots and cucumber slices, make excellent ‘dippers’. Keep them in plain view in the fridge along with hummus or vanilla yogurt to dip.
3. Crunchy snacks, like baked tortilla chips and pretzels, are perfect to dip into salsa or a semi-homemade dip made by mixing together plain Greek style yogurt with honey and cinnamon. One handful makes a perfect snack.
4. Drinks, like water and 1% milk, make everyone’s meal healthier. Offer just 2 choices.
5. Desserts, like a homemade fruit juice Popsicle or a yogurt/fruit/granola parfait are fun and delicious. For weekend options, try making tasty pumpkin muffins or a delicious blueberry crisp.
Busy Moms Put Good Nutrition into Motion
Get ready, get set, go! Good nutrition is in forward motion every time you fill your grocery cart with healthier options. Make a shopping list that includes the fruits, veggies, crunchy snacks, drinks and desserts in the tips above. Try one or more of these tips with your kids. Keep moving forward for a healthier kitchen and a healthier you!
Walnuts, omega-yolk egg, peanut butter, olive oil, avocado – all healthy fats!
Healthy Fats are Smart Choices – Why?
We all need fat to survive – did you realize that? In fact, a healthy body depends on it. But, what about ‘bad fats’ and ‘trans fats’ and ‘too much fat’? Right! It’s important to eat a moderate amount of fat every day – about 25-30% of your total daily calories – and just as important to choose a healthy kind of fat. Because your heart and entire body will stay healthier with the smart fat choices.
Healthy Fats are Smart Choices – Examples!
Understanding that some fats are healthier is a good start to making these part of your meals and snacks. Five great choices are shown at the left: walnuts, eggs enhanced with omega-3 fat, peanut butter, extra virgin olive oil and avocado. Here are 5 more great choices: ground flaxseeds, salmon, pumpkin seeds, mackerel and almond butter.
Healthy Fats are Smart Choices – 7 Ways to Succeed!
Eating healthy fats will make more sense if you think of it as part of your kitchen plan. So here are 7 ideas to get you started:
1. Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil onto your steamed broccoli just before serving it.
2. Chop up some walnuts and add them to your bowl of oatmeal just before eating it.
3. Cut an avocado and add 1/4 of it to your lunch or dinner salad.
4. Cook an egg – the kind with omega-3 healthy fat – as part of breakfast.
5. Mix pumpkin seeds into a homemade trail-mix with walnuts and hot air popcorn.
6. Buy a frozen mackerel filet at an Asian grocery store and then cook it in a skillet for dinner.
7. Use peanut butter or almond butter as a dip for baby carrots.
Healthy Fats are Smart Choices – Get On Board Now!
Taking action to improve your nutrition includes replacing unhealthy fats with healthier ones. Now is the time to go through your kitchen and do a ‘fat makeover.’ Take out crackers or margarine with trans fat and replace them with 0-trans-fat alternatives. Make the change from 2% milk – with unhealthy levels of saturated fat – to fat free milk. Buy a peanut butter or almond butter made from 100% nuts. My facebook page is a reliable resource with easy, daily tips and my free menus for busy weeknights can steer you to a healthier plan for dinner. Please use them!
How do you add healthy fats to your meals and snacks?
The recipe for Lemon Pepper Tofu is listed under ‘dinner’ below!
This is a Guest Blog by Kaylie Chrismon.
Did you know there are 7.3 million Americans who are vegetarian? There are also 22.8 million Americans who are “vegetarian-inclined1.” Are you vegetarian-inclined?
There are several different types of vegetarians:
1. Vegetarian – someone who does not eat meat but eats animal by-products. This may include dairy products and eggs.
2. Pescatarian – someone who eats fish but does not eat other meat, such as poultry and beef.
3. Vegan – someone who does not eat meat or any animal by-products, which may also include honey.
So why do people do it? Ethics, environment, health, and personal beliefs are some of the common reasons why people live a vegetarian lifestyle. Vegetarians also have lower rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and hypertension2.
What do vegetarians eat? Everything but meat! Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, eggs, beans, tofu, and nuts are delicious and healthy options. It is important to get all the nutrients you need, though. Vegetarians can be deficient in vitamin B-12 and iron, among other nutrients. You can get these nutrients through dairy, eggs, spinach, beans, and supplements. Check out these recipes to get your started, whether it’s for Meatless Monday or a full transition into becoming a vegetarian!
Strawberry Oat Muffins
Pumpkin Apple Pancakes
Homemade Granola Bars
Fruit and Yogurt Parfait
Lunch and Sides:
Spring Green Deviled Eggs
Bunny Rabbit Salad
Baked Parsley Potatoes
Simple Stir Fry
Healthy Portobello Pizza
Homemade Marinara Sauce and Spaghetti
Lemon Pepper Tofu with Blackberry Peach Salsa
Secret Ingredient Chocolate Mousse
Strawberry Apple Crisp
Dark Chocolate Bark with Cranberries and Pistachios
Homemade Banana Popsicles
Want to learn more about vegetarianism, such as the benefits, nutritional aspect, and additional resources? Visit here! Then, I challenge you to make one vegetarian meal this week! Try one of Cindy’s many vegetarian meals, my lemon pepper tofu with blackberry peach salsa, or look into Cindy’s Vegetarian E-Book! Don’t wait to try a delicious and very healthy meal that may help with cholesterol, high blood pressure, and many other diseases and conditions.
1. Vegetarian Times. Vegetarianism in America. From http://www.vegetariantimes.com/article/vegetarianism-in-america/
2. Brown University. Being a vegetarian. From http://www.brown.edu/Student_Services/Health_Services/Health_Education/nutrition_&_eating_concerns/being_a_vegetarian.php
About our Guest Blogger. Kaylie Chrismon is a Nutrition Grad Student at UNC-Greensboro with the goal of becoming a registered dietitian. She loves to cook and Kaylie writes her own blog here.
A summer tomato stuffed with tuna salad is filling and delicious!
Summer Dinner Ideas are Your Friend!
In the summer, most of my friends and clients are looking for the most simple dinner ideas they can find. And, it makes perfect sense. Who wouldn’t rather be at the pool, the park or fitting in some fun exercise? Without a huge amount of effort, summer dinner meals can bring good nutrition to your plate and wow flavors of the season to your tongue. And, even when summer’s over, these go-to meals can be your quick solution.
Summer Dinner Ideas are Easy to Plan!
Here are 3 of my favorite easy meals for summer at the dinner table.
1. Sandwich & Salad: Make a ham/Mozzarella sandwich with a big slice of fresh summer tomato. Add a side salad of lettuce or spinach, summer cucumbers and light dressing. Finish with a wedge of summer watermelon for dessert.
2. Sandwich & Smoothie: Make a summer tomato/cucumber/sweet Bell pepper sandwich with hummus as your spread. Add a summer smoothie of vanilla or plain yogurt, orange juice, summer blueberries and summer raspberries (use fresh or frozen fruit). Finish with a fruit juice popsicle for dessert.
3. Stuffed Tomato & Crackers: Cut a large summer tomato into fourths, without cutting through to the very bottom, and stuff it with tuna salad, chicken salad or low fat cottage cheese. Add whole grain crackers with a spread of light cream cheese or hummus. Finish with a summer fruit salad of blueberries, peaches, plums and cantaloupe for dessert. *See photo at left.
Summer Dinner Ideas are Part of Your Healthy Lifestyle!
New ideas for light and healthy dinners are valuable for many reasons. First of all, they give you a healthy plan; second, the plan gives you a shopping list; third, the shopping list helps you manage your food budget. It all fits together into a system of taking care of yourself with thoughtful choices that taste great. For ongoing dinner ideas, be sure to like my facebook page and visit often. Let’s have a conversation about affordable, tasty meals to fuel your body right!
Putting together a healthy weeknight dinner is like doing a puzzle!
Healthy Weeknight Dinner Plans!
I have to admit that I really like thinking up healthy weeknight dinners. It’s kind of like doing a puzzle with a formula – at the left – to insure yourself a balance of protein, carbs, fat, vitamins and minerals. So, for all of you who don’t share my love of meal planning, here are some options to use this week, and week-after-week.
5 Healthy Weeknight Dinner Options!
1. Tangy Lime Chicken with brown rice and steamed green beans. Slices of mango for dessert.
2. Spaghetti & Easy Marinara Sauce with broccoli and tossed green salad. Oatmeal cookie for dessert.
3. Scrambled Eggs with turkey sausage and whole grain Pumpkin Muffin. Cut up strawberries and apples for dessert.
4. Black Bean Burger (frozen) on whole grain bun with slice of tomato, lettuce, avocado and Easy Homemade Lentil Soup. Slices of cantaloupe for dessert.
5. Lean Pork Chop on the grill, rubbed with spices, with grilled sweet potato chunks and grilled Brussels sprouts. Grilled pineapple rings for dessert.
Healthy Weeknight Dinner Resources!
Help is here for your healthy weeknight dinners. Don’t go it alone because too often a panic-plan is expensive, salty and just not full of great nutrition. Put down the take out menu for pizza or wings and pick up an easy booklet that gives you the kind of simple, nutritious weeknight dinner plans you really want and need. My meal planning e-books are affordable and quick as well as thoughtful for busy people who care about good health. Explore my entire e-book bundle for simple recipes, too. And, remember that easy is good and nutritious is always worth it!
Chunks of tomato and fresh basil make this sauce a winner every time!
Homemade Marinara Spaghetti Sauce
This rich and tasty red sauce will make the whole kitchen smell good!
Kids can help by measuring the ingredients, tearing the basil leaves and stirring, with supervision.
Makes 4 servings
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
2 cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
2 cups Crushed or diced tomatoes in a can
2 Tablespoons Water
Pinch Red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon Salt
8 Fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
- Heat a medium-size skillet or frying pan on the stove to medium heat.
- Place olive oil and garlic into the pan. When garlic begins to sizzle, cook about 3-4 minutes, stirring. Garlic will turn golden.
- Add canned tomatoes and all remaining ingredients to the pan.
- Cover pan with a lid and simmer over low heat, stirring once every 5-10 minutes.
- Simmer sauce for 45-60 minutes to develop flavors.
Nutrition per serving: 100 calories; 7 gm fat; 1 gm saturated fat; 0 trans fat; 0 cholesterol; 300 mg sodium; 9 gm carbohydrates; 2 gm fiber; 2 gm protein; 15% DV vitamin A; 20% DV vitamin C; 4% DV calcium; 8% DV iron
Cooking Tip: For a change, add 6-8 sliced mushrooms or a cup of leftover, cooked broccoli florets.
Serving Tip: Serve with cooked spaghetti, ziti or rotini pasta.
Make it Homemade for Great Flavor and Health!
If you are ready to make homemade your new kitchen goal then a kitchen recipe resource will become your best friend. These easy-to-use recipe and menu planning booklets are the answer to your goal and a fresh start this year!
Eating Healthier During the Holidays…What?!
Healthier eating during the holidays may sound like a twisted thought to you but I say that it can be done. Yes, along with fall and early winter holidays like Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas and New Year’s Day come delicious parties and memorable dinners. But, the result doesn’t have to be a tighter belt. Wouldn’t it be great not to have to make a weight loss resolution again on January 1st? Here’s a tiny video where I explain how you can have all the joy of the holidays and get a grip on healthier eating, too!
5 Tips for Healthier Eating During the Holidays!
1. Be a fanatic for good nutrition: Get out of bed with an attitude for healthy eating whether it is Thanksgiving Day or any other day of the week. Remember, it’s a holiday, not a holiweek or holimonth…get it?
2. Celebrate every day success: Keep your usual light and healthy meals and snacks in place. If you indulge at a party or dinner, then move on and get back on track the next meal or the next day. Celebrate with a friend by going to the movies or roller skating rink.
3. Bring a healthy option to a party or potluck: Contribute a basket of oranges, tangerines, apples or dried mixed fruits for color and good nutrition on the party table. Or, mixed nuts in the shell with nut crackers might be fun. For a casserole dish use less butter, cheese and sour cream and for a hot vegetable, keep it simple by steaming.
4. Think your drink: Lead by example with one glass of beer or wine and then a glass of seltzer water or a sugar free soft drink. If you serve iced tea then use less sugar for a refreshing change.
5. Taste a dessert: Enjoy a bite of dessert or several desserts on a small plate. Make 3 bites out of each one and eat slowly to taste and appreciate every flavor and texture.
Healthier Eating During the Holidays Will Make it a Happier New Year!
A smart plan is the one that helps you achieve a healthy life. So, I recommend putting good nutrition at the top of your mind for fewer ‘train wrecks’ and more cheer this coming season. Healthier eating during the holidays will improve your energy level, decrease your stress and make it a happier New Year. For everyday, good nutrition tips, all year long, LIKE my facebook page and join the conversation. If you need resources like meal plans and recipes from a trusted nutrition professional, then buy my reasonably priced e-book bundle now!
What is your tip for healthier eating during the holidays?
Who doesn’t love pumpkins?
Seasonal, Nutritious, Versatile Pumpkin!
Did you carve a Jack-O-Lantern on Halloween? I have to admit that my pumpkin carving skills are not so great. My skills with a can of solid packed pumpkin, though, are much better. My short pumpkin how-to video to will give you an idea about what you can do with a can of pumpkin in your kitchen. Please look at it, with special attention to the healthy pumpkin pie in a blender recipe because this makes a perfect finish to Thanksgiving or any special dinner.
Healthy Pumpkin Pie Recipe – In the Blender!
Makes one 9-inch pie, 8 servings, 150 calories per serving
Measure All Ingredients into Your Blender:
1 can (15-16 oz) solid pack pumpkin; 1 can evaporated skim milk (12 fl. oz); 2 large eggs; 1/2 cup white or brown sugar; 1/2 cup Heart Smart baking mix from Bisquick; 2 teaspoons ground pumpkin pie spice; 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Blend for about 1-2 minutes on medium speed until smooth and mixed.
Pour Into a Pie Pan:
Pour healthy pumpkin pie mixture from the blender into an 8-inch or 9-inch pie pan that is lightly sprayed with vegetable oil spray.
Bake the Pie:
Bake 55-60 minutes at 350 degrees F. Test for doneness by inserting a table knife into the center of pie. If it comes out clean, the pie is done. If pie sticks to the knife, then return it to oven and bake 5 more minutes, then test again.
Cool the Pie:
Cool pie to room temperature before cutting. Or, cook this healthy pumpkin pie one day ahead and refrigerate it overnight and enjoy it cold.
A Healthy Dessert for Thanksgiving or Any Holiday! Keeping good nutrition in action is an every day challenge for most families and everyone. Be a leader at your holiday feast with this healthy pumpkin pie recipe. It’s flavor, nutrition and lighter calorie count is really worth it!
What will be on your healthy Thanksgiving Menu?
What’s in your cart? Do you try for at least 3/4 healthy choices?
Grocery Shopping Day
I used to shop on Saturday mornings to miss crowds. Then it was Sunday afternoon to combine my shopping with the upcoming week’s meal planning. Now, it’s a mixture of weekend days and busier weeknights. Do you have a set day for grocery shopping? If you do, that’s one option. The other option is waiting for your pantry and fridge to cry out, ‘Fill me!”
Hunger Makes a Difference in What You Put in Your Cart
Tips for smart grocery shopping are out there and many of us come up with our own. With busy schedules as the norm, though, focusing in the aisles can be tough. One thing that is now supported by credible research is that if you’re driving a grocery cart with an empty stomach, your choices may suffer. A recent research study at Cornell University showed that shoppers who were hungry made poor nutrition choices for their cart compared to those who were not hungry. The hungry ones tended to make choices that were higher in calories and lower in nutrition-density. Uh oh. The easy solution is to put something into your stomach before cruising the aisles and here’s how:
How To Grocery Shop Without a Growling Stomach
1. Plan a Nutritious Snack as You Plan Your List: As you plan your meals and write your shopping list, try including a plan for a pocket-snack. You can scotch tape a nutritious snack bar or single-serving of nuts to your list if that helps you remember it. Eat a snack bar made of whole grains and 5-10 grams protein and it will probably keep your stomach from growling while you cook dinner, too – an added bonus.
2. Crunch on an Apple or Firm Pear: As you get ready for the day, stash a high-fiber, fall fruit like an apple or firm pear in your pocket or pocket book to enjoy before you hit the store. The firm pear is crunchy like an apple and it doesn’t bruise like the soft, ripe one.
3. Visit the Deli for a Slice: If your shopping trip is totally unplanned, don’t worry. Steer your cart fist to the Deli and order a slice or 2 of lean meat or unprocessed cheese. Eat it and save the wrapper with price to pay at checkout. Some stores give a free sample of the item before you purchase it so this may work out for you, too.
Your Grocery Shopping Challenge
Everyone has something to learn about grocery shopping. For some, it’s how to get organized with a meal plan and list. For others, it’s how to use up all those healthy fruits and veggies at home before they spoil. For all, shopping within a budget can be huge. The learning is ongoing and the healthy outcomes are amazing. Make a goal and work on it every grocery trip. When you commit it to habit, then take on a new goal. Healthy groceries are the starting point of a healthy kitchen and healthy life for you and those you care about the most. To speed up your learning, my e-books about meal planning and tasty recipes are really helpful and not overwhelming like most cookbooks. And, please join me on Facebook for daily tips and a friendly place you can interact with others who are learning about good nutrition, too!
What is your hardest grocery shopping challenge?
Fresh lettuce is perishable so plan your meals to use it up quickly!
Over-Purchased, Got Busy, Oh No…
Yesterday, I looked in my fridge crisper drawer and got nervous. I bought too much ‘green’ last week and then got super-busy…oh no. It’s not so uncommon a problem to have too many veggies in the fridge. But, if you hate to waste all that healthy bounty, like I do, here are some tips on how to use it up.
The Solution Part 1 – See What You Have & Use What You Can!
When faced with too much ‘green’, my first rule is do not panic – do not immediately throw it away. Stay calm and begin a veggie search-and-rescue process. Pick over everything carefully and use what you can. Now, back to my kitchen…
Last night I pulled out fresh, local beets and tiny yellow squash from my fridge crisper along with 2 containers of fresh whole mushrooms. Sure wish I had only bought one container of mushrooms but the sale price was just too good. Next, I discovered I had fresh, local lettuce, pictured at left, that needed to be used up so I pulled it out. Finally, I had a nice head of green cabbage so out it came.
My Solution Part 2 – Make a Creative Assortment & Expect Tasty, Nutritious Leftovers!
Cooking is one way to extend the shelf life of veggies, for a day or two. It’s nice to have a ready-to-reheat leftover in the fridge so try cooking more veggies than you need for one single dinner. Tomorrow, reheat and enjoy – again. Now, back to my kitchen…
1. I washed & peeled the beets and cut them into bite-size chunks. Then, I tossed them in a bowl with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and laid them on a large, flat pan for roasting in the oven. I roast veggies for 25 min. at 425 degrees.
2. I washed the tiny 4-5 inch yellow squash, removed the ends and cut each one into 2 long, flat halves. Then, I tossed them in a bowl with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and laid them on the same pan as the beets for roasting.
3. I washed and trimmed the mushrooms and sliced them into a microwavable container for steaming.
4. I washed and shredded about 1/4 of the green cabbage and added it to the same microwavable container as the mushrooms for steaming.
5. I washed the lettuce, patted it dry and tore the leaves into a bowl for salad. I kept it very simple, adding a little olive oil and red wine vinegar as dressing.
More Veggies in Your Meal Plans & Resources!
Having too many veggies in the fridge can be stressful when you need to use them up quickly. But, it’s better to have too many than too few. For good nutrition, always plan your meals to include plenty of green, yellow, red, orange and purple veggies. For fun and ongoing tips & recipes using veggies, LIKE the Market Basket Nutrition Facebook page. For meal plans and recipes so simple that even kids can help, invest in one of my Good Nutrition E-books. Today!
What is your system for managing veggies in the fridge?
Eggs are nutritious, versatile and budget-friendly as a ‘go to’ meal starter!
What’s a ‘Go To’ Meal?
I am a firm believer in keeping it simple in the kitchen. A piece of fruit, slice of bread with peanut or almond butter, a cup of yogurt, a can of tuna, a bag of frozen veggies. ‘Go To’ meals are born from simple choices that support great flavors and great nutrition. They are the meals you can always remember, always enjoy and always find ingredients in your kitchen to make them – quickly.
3 Reasons to Embrace ‘Go To’ Meals!
There are many more than 3 reasons to use ‘Go To’ meals. Here are a few of my top choices: eat healthfully; eat with less stress; eat within your budget. Just because they are simple, though, don’t think of ‘Go To’ meals as boring. Switching the kind of fruit or vegetable, for example, is easy to do and it will keep your meals fun.
3 ‘Go To’ Meals to Try!
1. Breakfast ‘Go To’ Meal: Strawberries + Whole wheat toast + Boiled egg + 1% Milk or yogurt + coffee/tea
2. Lunch ‘Go To’ Meal: Cheese/Tomato/Cucumber Wrap on Whole grain tortilla + Baby carrots + Apple + Water
3. Dinner ‘Go To’ Meal: Whole grain spaghetti with Marinara Sauce + Turkey sausage + Green salad with avocado and light vinaigrette + 1% Milk or Water
What’s your favorite ‘Go To’ meal?
It’s super smart to store tomatoes, avocado and garlic at room temp!
Why it Matters
Food is most flavorful and nutrient-rich when eaten at its peak quality. That’s why most of us spend time sorting through lemons, turning over broccoli florets and sifting through fresh loaves of bread before putting them in our grocery cart. Fresh is something everyone wants!
What to Store at Room Temp
Tomatoes, avocados, garlic, potatoes, onions, bananas, and unripe melons will be fresher if stored at room temperature. Once cut, wrap them up and place in the fridge. Then, eat in a day or two.
How You Can Save
By storing food in its ‘sweet spot’ for light, temperature and moisture, you will be rewarded with fresh ! Not only that – you will have less food rot and, by throwing away less, you will save money. Smart food storage combined with smart meal planning is a super smart goal for everyone!
What food will you store differently for freshness?
Homemade pizza has personality, bursts with flavor and rocks with good nutrition!
Pizza Ingredients to Love!
What goes on top of your pizza crust? On mine, at the left, are these:
Layer 1: homemade basil pesto, spread on thinly
Layer 2: canned tuna, flaked apart with a fork
Layer 3: canned, quartered artichoke hearts, drained of water
Layer 4: fresh tomato wedges
Layer 5: Parmesan cheese, roughly grated, sprinkled on thinly
Pizza Meal-Makers to Add!
While you could rightly argue that all the nutritious food groups are sitting on this pizza, I still feel better and fill up better with a couple of side items at my homemade pizza meal. Normally, I go with a green veggie like steamed broccoli or sugar snap peas plus a green salad of some sort. The pizza is the center of my meal, though, and worthy. You will be amazed at the flavors of this simple recipe so please try it!
Families Love Pizza so Plan to Make One Soon!
Many families with kids and singles are pizza lovers. Instead of pizzeria pizza, which can easily go overboard on calories, saturated fat and salt, plan to make a homemade pizza with smart ingredients as a nutritious lunch or dinner. Next grocery shopping trip, put healthy homemade pizza ingredients on your list and then in your cart. Once home, you’ll have the fun of creating a meal the entire family will adore.
What will go on the top of your pizza crust?
In the Mediterranean Country of Turkey, mine was a colorful plate with tons of good nutrition!
Nutrition Month is Here!
I look forward to March every year for a few reasons, including Spring, Nutrition Month and my birthday. All 3 of these special occasions is like a new beginning – for nature, for everyone who seeks good flavors and good health and… for me, another year to be thankful for. Nutrition Month is a fun, full-of-flavor opportunity and I treat it as such. Will you join me in the celebration?
When I visited Turkey last fall, I truly enjoyed many cultural, natural and edible surprises. I experienced an Islamic culture, I swam in the Aegean Sea and I ate tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and feta cheese for breakfast – all for the first time! My meal plate at the left shows you how fresh, how colorful and how appetizing Turkish-style eating can be. It’s inspirational, too, as an example for my plate in America.
Will Your Nutrition Month be Full of Surprises?
It’s time for everyone to take a step forward by embracing Nutrition Month. There are so many surprises awaiting you as you concentrate on nutrient-rich foods that supply you with endless energy and tasty enjoyment. Climb out of your meal rut, grab new choices for your grocery basket and you will feel the difference that good nutrition can make. I am here to provide you with guidance, tips, recipes and fun support as you make a fresh beginning in March! Try these: LIKE me on facebook; invest in my menu planning, recipe e-book bundle; sign up for my monthly e-newsletter – it’s FREE!
How will you improve your nutrition plan beginning in March?
I stuffed my roast chicken with fresh rosemary!
When I’m meal planning, I always have easy in the back of my mind. For a tasty meal that lends itself to every side dish imaginable, I often choose to roast a whole chicken. There’s just about nothing easier.
Roast chicken meat is nice and lean and healthy. If you season under the loosened chicken skin before roasting it , like this recipe does, then you’ll have plenty of flavor in your chicken, without the skin. Discarding the skin means a healthier dinner, of course.
Beyond easy and healthy, roast chicken is truly versatile. It comes in handy as a tasty, leftover ingredient under all circumstances, if you ask me. So, enjoy your roast chicken, hot and flavorful, as a satisfying dinner. Then, refrigerate the leftovers for light chicken salad or a chicken and cheese quesadilla. If you’re like me, you will want to make homemade soup, too.
Get Going on a Healthy Kitchen!
Are you desperately trying to create a healthier kitchen for you and your family? If you are, then smart meal planning is the solution. It’s time to get going, once and for all – today! My easy-to-follow, affordable Meal Planning Booklet along with my Family-Friendly Recipe Booklets are the kind of kitchen tools that will help you move gradually closer to your nutrition and health goals. Or, start benefiting by joining me on facebook. You’ll be glad you did!
What tasty, healthy side dishes do you serve with a roast chicken?
This grocery store poster in Vienna, Austria makes me hungry for citrus!
A Piece of Sunshine!
Oranges, clementines, tangerines – oh boy. At the top of my list of favorite fruits are citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits and clementines. I like their sweet flavor, juiciness and the way they’re ‘wrapped’ by nature. I can carry citrus fruits anywhere and when I bite into one, I feel like I’m eating a piece of sunshine.
Vitamin C is a Citrus Bonus!
I like staying healthy and full of energy all year long. Do you? If you answered ‘yes’ then choose citrus. Vitamin C comes along with the sweet flavor of citrus, or the sour flavor if you choose a lemon or lime. As an antioxidant, vitamin C can make cold symptoms less serious and it can strengthen your immune system in general. Now, that’s a great way to stay well this winter, and all year long!
Add Citrus to Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner!
What are you waiting for? Now is the perfect time to add a tangerine or half grapefruit half to breakfast. Or, squeeze a glass of orange juice for lunch. At dinner, brighten your salad by spritzing it with fresh lemon or lime juice and/or zest (the outside skin, grated). Go for citrus as you set a good example at your meal table. Need more help? Join me on facebook and take a look at my kitchen tools that include menu and recipe e-books. So easy-to-use and affordable that you’ll want to order today!
What citrus fruits turn you on to good nutrition?
Homemade Lentil Soup ‘hits the spot’ when you need a tasty and nutritious dinner!
Soup is Comfort Food!
If I could invent healthy comfort food, it would be a bowl of homemade soup and I would eat it every day. Seriously. I love to make homemade soup and to eat it – frequently. Do you?
Soup is Versatile!
There is a whole world of homemade soups and I enjoy being creative when I make them. It’s hard to say which are my favorites because all are good options but, if I had to, I’d choose lentil, pumpkin and vegetable-beef. My lentil soup is shown at the left.
Soup Ingredients are Healthy & Cheap!
Now, here’s the clincher – homemade soup is really cheap to make and really healthy to eat. If you think it through, you’ll agree because the ingredients I’m talking about are garlic, onions, olive oil, green veggies, potatoes, pumpkin, rice, fresh herbs and more. Soup made with broth is a healthy mix of all of these.
Homemade Soup is a Smart Goal!
If you’re new to the idea of making your own soup from basic ingredients then take a look at this easy recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup or this easy recipe for Homemade Lentil Soup and try one. Your time commitment to mince and chop ingredients is normally 20 minutes or less. Then, soup cooks itself as it simmers at a low temperature and develops savory flavors. So, make homemade soup your goal as one step toward a healthier lifestyle. You’ll be glad you did!
What kind of homemade soup will you make this week?
Orange pumpkins brighten up this Vienna, Austria street market!
What Can I Do with Pumpkins?
* Decorate your front door step with pumpkins throughout the fall
* Carve pumpkins into funny faces at Halloween
* Scoop out the pumpkin seeds and make oven-roasted pumpkin seeds that are a crisp and hearty snack
* Scoop out and cook the pumpkin flesh until soft, puree it and use in a muffin recipe or soup recipe
* Oven-bake a small pumpkin, whole, and then use the flesh as a side dish on your dinner plate or any way you wish
Make Pumpkin Your New Healthy Habit!
You will be doing yourself a big favor by adding pumpkin and its ‘fall squash cousins’ to your meals, shopping list and kitchen pantry – for top flavor, amazing good nutrition and colorful fun. Be sure to try the fresh pumpkins now and then later be sure to stock up on canned, solid pack pumpkin. It’s all good!
What will you cook with pumpkin this week?
In Austria, this poster advertises a new cookie as ‘Half Chocolate, Whole Grain’
Do you grab an apple or a cookie late in the afternoon? Do your kids choose a cola drink or low fat milk, when given the choice? Is a boiled egg part of your family’s breakfast in addition to sweetened cereal? Good nutrition balance means opting for really healthy food choices along with those that are not quite so healthy. Read on for everyday examples.
Breakfast Balance: Boiled egg + apple + donut + 1% milk or coffee
Lunch Balance: Cheeseburger + tossed salad, light dressing + orange + water
Dinner Balance: Baked skinless chicken + whole grain brown rice + steamed green beans + apple pie
Think Good Example!
Your ‘balanced example’ is a powerful, unspoken message to friends and family. Choosing a whole grain cookie, as shown at the left, allows a chocolate indulgence every once in a while. Choosing a piece of fresh fruit for dessert works very well, too. Show those you care about the most that good nutrition balance can be, and is, part of the enjoyment of a meal or snack. Your actions speak louder than your words.
Make a Plan for Balance!
Good nutrition is a balancing act that everyone can manage with desire, positive thinking and an action plan. Easy to use menus and recipes can give you the know-how to make it happen in your household, for you and your family.
How will you balance good nutrition this week?
Mushrooms come in many sizes & varieties so be sure to try them all!
Mushrooms & Pennsylvania
When I went to middle school, my family moved from Washington State to southeastern Pennsylvania. That was when I began learning about mushrooms. My mother got into the habit of giving a big basket of fresh mushrooms as a holiday or special occasion gift which might sound odd, unless you know Pennsylvania mushrooms!
Mushrooms 101: Nutrition & Health
Like so many veggies, mushrooms have a strong nutrition resume. Some of their top nutrients include selenium, copper and potassium along with fiber and health-enhancing phytochemicals. Mushrooms are low in calories and a good source of fiber, too.
Mushrooms 201: Selection and Storage
Taking time to select and store mushrooms correctly is a first step to enjoying this delicately-flavored veggie. As with all veggies, freshness is a top priority so pick out firm, evenly colored mushrooms without spots or slime. Also, store them for only a few days to preserve their quality.
Mushrooms 301: Cooking
Mushrooms are full of water like so many veggies and cooking them develops a mildly savory flavor. The best way to do this is to add either a small amount of vegetable oil or wine to your pan before sauteing the mushrooms. They will turn golden brown within a short time at medium-high heat. Mix together 2 or more varieties of mushrooms for a rich and satisfying meal. Cooked mushrooms work well added to red sauce over pasta or as a meatless burger with melted cheese, lettuce and tomato.
Get Started with Mushrooms in Your Kitchen
Mushrooms belong in everyone’s meal plans. Buy mushrooms fresh and try these ideas: slice them and eat raw over your salad; cook them whole in a little wine as your dinner side item; slice them and stir-fry with other veggies for your dinner entree. The time to get started is now!
What new mushroom recipe can you invent?
Can you imagine a more colorful, summery meal than veggie pizza with mixed heirloom tomatoes?
Pizza is a Teen-Pleaser!
If you have teens, then I bet pizza is high on your list of family-pleasing meals. My teen loves it and so my approach is to offer healthier pizza and side options. When we met friends at the swimming pool last week for supper, 4 adults and 3 teens enjoyed a colorful & healthy meal. In addition to what’s pictured at the left, there was cheese pizza, juice-packed fruits and a drink.
Ordering Healthier Pizza!
On a long work day, my perfect meal solution was to drop by the local Italian restaurant and order take-out pizza. I asked for ‘light on the cheese’ and ‘double cut’ for smaller slices. The veggie pizza had broccoli, mushrooms and spinach on top and it was dee-lish. When you order pizza for take-out, be sure to make the special requests you need. Good nutrition is always worth the trouble.
Take Action Now!
When you want to feel great and stay healthy, there’s no better solution than nutritious eating, every day. To nourish your teen the best you possibly can, and to become your entire family’s healthy eater role model, you need resources. LIKE my facebook page to join a fun and lively discussion, READ my blog every week for more know-how in your kitchen and BUY a trusted bundle of my menu & recipe e-books to make easy meals with awesome results!
How do you build a tasty and healthy meal with pizza?
Late summer means a new season of fresh apples is here!
A New Season of Fresh Apples
In North Carolina, August signals the beginning of a new season of awesome, healthy, delicious apples. If you love apples, like me, this is the month to get out to a Farmer’s Market or the apple orchard itself for the freshest apples. Eating an apple a day is a very smart way to feel great and stay healthy!
A Contest for Kids – Win an Apple T-Shirt
Washington State grows a lot of fresh apples as do North Carolina, Virginia and Michigan. If you think it would be cool to win a t-shirt with a big apple on it, then kids can enter an apple writing contest.
A Super Simple Apple Recipe
If you need a new recipe for your healthy kitchen then try this one….and, get the kids to help!
Fresh Apple Salad
This is a go-to side dish for any meal! Kids can help by washing the apples, squeezing the lemon, stirring and sprinkling the salad, with supervision.
Makes 4 servings
3 medium Apples, any kind, any color
1 teaspoon Lemon juice, squeezed from a fresh lemon
3/4 cup, 6 ounce cup Lemon or lime yogurt, made from nonfat milk
1/4 cup Plain yogurt, made from nonfat milk
1/4 Ground cinnamon
- Wash apples and pat dry with a clean towel.
- Cut apples in half. Cut in half again.
- Remove core and seeds from apples.
- Cut apples into bite-size pieces and place into a medium or large bowl.
- Squeeze lemon juice all over the apple pieces. Stir up with a big spoon.
- Measure and add yogurt (both kinds) to the apples. Stir gently.
- Sprinkle cinnamon over the top of the salad.
Nutrition per serving: 80 calories; 9 gm fat; 5 gm saturated fat; 0 trans fat; 45 mg cholesterol; 500 mg sodium; 3 gm carbohydrates; 0 gm fiber; 15 gm protein; 4% DV vitamin A; 2% DV vitamin C; 25% DV calcium; 4% DV iron
What is your favorite meal or snack recipe using fresh apples?
Corn on the cob is sweet & satisfying, especially in the summer!
The History of Corn
Corn on the cob has been a favorite of mine since way back. What about you? Did you know that corn originated thousands of years ago in central Mexico? Today, it is a major food staple around the world.
Ways to Prepare Corn
Corn is a colorful, nutrient-rich, versatile grain that lends itself to hot and cold recipes. Here are 2 quickies:
1. Corn Pancakes: Make a simple pancake batter from baking mix or scratch ingredients. Before cooking, add a cup of corn kernels. Cook.
2. Grilled Corn: Peel off corn husks. Sprinkle a little water onto each ear and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Grill, turning, for 6-8 min.
Family-Pleasing Corn Recipes
Try these in your household for ‘wow’ flavors and great nutrition, too:
1. Roasted Corn, Poblano and Cheddar Pizza
2. Spicy Corn
3. Corn and Yellow Squash Chowder
Take A First Step
Invest in your good health and the good health of your family -beginning today! I have easy-to-use meal plans and recipes. And, I offer ongoing ideas, tips and tiny recipes to create a healthy kitchen.
How will you use fresh corn in your healthy kitchen?
Local, tree-ripened peaches can make your taste buds dance!
Caring for Fresh Peaches
It seems simple. Pick-your-own or buy fresh peaches and then eat them. But, wait – there’s more! By following these 3 steps, your summer peaches will reward you with more flavor, more sweetness and more enjoyment.
Step 1. At home, store peaches on the kitchen counter.
Step 2. Twice a day, check for ripeness by very gently squeezing the peach with your thumb and index finger.
Step 3. When peach is slightly soft to the touch and smells ‘peachy’, eat or store in the fridge (for up to one week.)
Peaches & Cinnamon in Meals and Snacks
Sprinkling cinnamon onto a fresh peach is something you must try! Here are 3 ways to make this winning combination add flavor and creativity to your meals and snacks.
1. Peaches & cinnamon over yogurt. Wash and cut up the peach, sprinkle it with cinnamon and stir up. Dish up some vanilla or honey yogurt and top with peaches.
2. Peaches & cinnamon over breakfast cereal. Wash and cut up the peach. Pour your bowl of cereal (go for high fiber varieties). Top with peaches and sprinkle with cinnamon.
3. Peaches & cinnamon on the grill. Wash and cut peach in half. Brush cut side very lightly with oil. Cook on the grill, cut side down, for 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Take the Challenge
If you are not already eating at least 5 servings of fruits and/or vegetables every day, then it’s time for a change. Take the challenge by keeping track of your intake of fruits/veggies with the goal to consistently eat about 2-1/2 cups per day. For kids and everyone, here’s a fun tune as a good nutrition reminder!
What’s your favorite way to eat summer peaches?
Cherokee purple tomatoes are unique and delicious, from my local Farmer's Market!
It’s Fun Trying Many Varieties of Tomatoes!
I used to think a homegrown, local tomato was heavenly — and, I still do! But, lately I’m getting more fun out of summer tomatoes by trying different varieties. The Cherokee Purple tomato, shown at left, is actually purple-ish on the outside and inside. Amish Paste is another to try as is Brandywine. I suggest your local Farmer’s Market if you are ready to have some fun with tomato varieties!
Making Easy Meals with Tomatoes!
1. Cold Tomato Sandwich Meal: Spread fresh sourdough or whole grain bread with light mayo or mustard. Cut a fresh, local tomato into thick slices and layer onto bread. Top tomatoes with minced, fresh herbs such as basil, oregano or mint. Make a meal by adding sliced cucumbers and a wedge of cantaloupe or watermelon.
2. Cold Pasta & Tomato Salad Meal: Mix together cooked pasta with chunks of fresh, local tomatoes. Use several kinds if you can. Add your signature ingredients such as olives, black beans or cheese. Dress simply with oil and vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir. Make a meal by adding warm corn tortillas wrapped around sliced avocado or salsa and a peach.
3. Cold Tomato Gazpacho Soup Meal: Here’s a tasty recipe for Tomato Gazpacho Soup. Make a meal by adding simple, grilled chicken or fish and fresh plum tart.
Make it Healthy and Tasty in Your Kitchen!
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Throwing away the remains of fruits, veggies, nut shells, egg shells into garden compost is a good sign!
What Lurks in the Fridge?
Is your celery or lettuce squishy and slimy again? Do you find a disgustingly moldy onion in your pantry too often? Do you forget to use up leftovers like spaghetti and meatballs and, when you discover them, they smell funny and unsafe? Do you feel like you are throwing away too much food?
What is it Costing You?
All of us throw away food once-in-a-while. But, throwing away food every week is too much – too much wasted space, time, and money. Estimates are that, on average, Americans throw away 30-40% of their food budget – which can cost you up to $1,000 or more dollars in a year. Just think what you could use that extra money for!
How to Waste Less and Save More!
1. Plan meals in advance of grocery shopping. Do a 3-day, or 7-day plan and write it down.
2. Look through your pantry, fridge and freezer before you make your shopping list, to buy only what you need.
3. Make a grocery shopping list that includes what you need for your meal plans, and everyday, healthy staples.
4. Keep it simple at the grocery store. Shop your list.
5. At home, put away perishable items first, then put away dry foods. Date perishables to remind yourself to eat them before they spoil. Work your meal plans.
Summer is a tricky time for food safety, so be extra careful with these summer food safety tips.
Ongoing Tips for a Healthy and Affordable Kitchen!
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Start with spinach greens, fresh dill, fresh parsley and purple cabbage.
Salad Brings Good Nutrition to the Table
When the weather heats up, I feel like a light and crunchy salad meal. It’s cool and refreshing, full of flavor and so easy to toss together in my kitchen. What about you?
I don’t necessarily think about all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants lurking in my salad starter greens. But, when I do, I feel even better about the powerful nutrition on my plate.
Start with Greens
A salad meal typically starts with greens. Any greens. Dark green spinach, Romaine lettuce and/or arugula are tasty. Shredded green cabbage or soft leaf lettuces work great, too. I like even more flavor with my greens, so I typically add one or two chopped fresh herbs like parsley, dill, oregano or mint. You can do that, too!
Add Salad Toppers
There are no limits to what can be used to top your salad. First, I like excellent nutrition such as carrots, tomatoes and shredded purple cabbage. The more colorful, the better. Next, add a protein-rich salad topper such as cut-up hardboiled egg, flaky canned tuna, almonds, cheese, leftover chicken or turkey. Finally, add a favorite summer fruit such as berries, cut-up nectarines or melon.
Making salad dressing is not difficult and it’s a healthy choice compared to most bottled options. There are many varieties and easy recipes for each one. Making a batch of dressing to keep on hand in the fridge can be a helpful time-saver if you intend to use it up within 7-10 days.
Tasty Salad Meals to Try
Meal 1: Spinach & shredded green cabbage + tiny tomatoes, carrots, blueberries+ leftover chicken, cheese + vinaigrette.
Meal 2: Romaine greens with chopped fresh parsely + chopped broccoli, cantaloupe + sliced hardboiled egg, almonds + vinaigrette (try fresh lemon juice in place of vinegar)
Meal 3: Soft leaf lettuce + shredded carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives + flaky tuna, hardboiled egg + creamy dressing.
Kitchen Tips and Family-Friendly Recipes
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Garlic, basil and tomatoes are a great start for healthful, Mediterranean flavors!
Flavors from the Mediterranean
Do you like the flavors of Italy? Do you like the flavors of Greece? Do you like the flavors of Turkey or Spain? All of these countries have coastlines on the Mediterranean Sea and, because of this, they share similar climates and some similar food ingredients and flavors.
Menu Planning from the Mediterranean
Whether or not you live near the Mediterranean Sea, you can enjoy eating a meal that is traditional to that area. It’s fun, too. Maybe you’ll want to plan a simple pasta dinner with red sauce made from garlic, basil and tomatoes. Or maybe you’ll plan a Turkish meal with beef or lamb shish kebab over rice. Both are delicious!
Celebrate Simple from the Mediterranean
Invest in yours and your family’s good health by celebrating simple, homemade cooking from the Mediterranean. Boiling pasta and making a simple sauce for dinner can be done with a little planning ahead, an easy recipe, and an efficient grocery shopping list. Grilling a shish kebab dinner can be done in similar steps. On the side of your plate, add a simple green vegetable and enjoy an orange, apricot or kiwi as a simple dessert.
Everyday Tools for Your Healthy Kitchen
Everyone needs a simple plan for everyday tasty and healthy meals for your home kitchen. LIKE my facebook page to get tips and ask questions; invest in my kitchen tools for meal plans, shopping lists and easy-to-fix recipes.
Step 1: Shop for nutritious fruits and veggies: kale to lightly saute, radishes for a salad, late season oranges/tangerines for a snack
Step 2: Shop for nutritious whole grains: farro for a side dish, barley for a soup, light popcorn for a snack
Step 3: Shop for nutritious dairy foods: plain yogurt to mix with fruit, 1% milk for homemade coffee latte, string cheese for a snack
Simple Meals for Spring:
Step 1. Breakfast: Whole grain toaster waffle + vanilla yogurt + berries + herb tea
Step 2. Lunch: Whole wheat tortilla wrapped around canned tuna or salmon + one-bite tomatoes + orange + water
Step 3. Dinner: Chicken on the grill + sweet potato chunks cooked in an aluminum foil tent on the grill + steamed broccoli or Brussels sprouts + yogurt/juice smoothie
Ongoing Support for Your Healthy Kitchen
Make it a habit to plan, shop and cook with good nutrition at the top of your mind. For ongoing help with this, LIKE me on facebook and invest in my 3-ebook bundle. These resources will help you turn things around in your kitchen!
Ready to roast: sweet potatoes, parsnips, red and green Bell peppers and red onions.
Color and Good Nutrition
Need some help getting out of a hum-drum eating rut? The easiest way is to gather a rainbow of colorful foods at the grocery store. Not only do colors please the eyes but they pack in powerful nutrition.
When I think of an artist’s palette, I really get going on combinations for my meal plate – what about you? A snack of blueberries and yogurt is a good start. A lunch salad with a variety of shades of green lettuces, shredded purple cabbage and tomatoes is beautiful, too. Or imagine this…a dinner stir-fry with sugar snap peas, mushrooms, carrots and red Bell pepper strips. Truly, a feast for the eyes and the body.
Simple and Nutritious
Simple and colorful meals are a smart way to make healthy eating a priority for you and your family. For everyday tips, tiny recipes and inspiration about healthier nutrition, join me on Facebook or check out my e-book bundle of Tasty Menus and Recipes.
Leftovers are a perfect start to dinner!
Leftovers are Reality
One reality for all of us is that we have bits-and-pieces of leftover foods in our fridge. If we’re smart, we try to use them up within a few days. If we’re not…we throw them away and waste money.
Leftovers are Fun
No matter your age, it can be fun to use up leftovers. Think creative, think food art, think colors and textures and flavors. Making a leftover concoction that is healthy, satisfying and cheap can make your day!
Leftovers are Healthy
A healthy kitchen produces healthy ingredients for a leftover meal. What do you see in your fridge right now? A cup of cold, cooked vegetable; a bowlful of cooked pasta; a quarter bag of spinach leaves; a two inch cube of natural cheese. Just about everything can be mixed, tossed or crafted into a tasty, leftover meal.
Leftover Meal Ideas
1. Leftover spinach leaves + cut up cucumber + olives + leftover canned tuna + light dressing. A delish cold dinner salad! See photo above.
2. Leftover cooked pasta + leftover steamed veggie + leftover Marinara sauce + cut up hard boiled egg. A creative warm pasta dinner!
3. Leftover vegetable or bean soup + pita bread and leftover shredded cheese, melted + fruit salad of apples and bananas. A quick soup and sandwich dinner!
Fish is a heart-healthy and delicious choice for a special dinner!
Learning About Fish
There’s a lot about fish you may not know. Jake learned that tilapia is a vegetarian fish that loves to eat algae. Jackie was interested in how wild salmon is caught in the waters off Alaska, flash frozen and transported to her home town. Their younger brother, Rocco, was most interested in watching the live lobsters in a tank at the other end of the seafood department. Who could blame him?
Fish Can Protect Your Heart
Fish is a powerful protein food that can add quality to everyone’s meals and snacks. Not only that – fish contributes omega-3 fat to your plate and, with it, comes a stronger heart. Certain fish are richer in omega-3 fat and it’s good to learn which these are. A few examples are salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and albacore tuna.
Cooking Fish from Frozen
Repeat after me…fish is not hard to cook. Really, it’s not. To cook fish directly from frozen, tap into a handy online resource at The Alaska Seafood Marketing Association. You can learn quickly from these cook fish from frozen videos and begin enjoying more fish right away. Whatever your choice — grilling, sautéing, baking, broiling, roasting or steaming, fish is something for those who are smart about nutrition and appreciate delicious flavors!
More Homemade Ideas for a Healthy Kitchen
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My Mediterranean recipe combines chicken, frozen butternut squash, chick peas, olives, garlic, tomatoes and spices over couscous.
Slow Cooker Meals Use Simple Ingredients
Do you have a slow cooker in your kitchen tool box? If you do, there are homemade flavors at low to medium cost awaiting you. Many slow cooker recipes are easy and easy to find.
Flavors of the World Suit a Slow Cooker
The world offers cuisines with amazing flavors. For example, my slow cooker recipe shown at the left, features Mediterranean flavors with characteristic ingredients. I also love the traditional flavors of Mexico and they typically include fresh lime juice, chili powder, garlic and cumin. Korean cuisine is another favorite with its soy sauce, garlic, sesame seeds or oil, sugar and hot pepper flakes.
Exotic Flavors Wake Up Taste Buds & Excite the Family
There are good reasons to ‘spice up’ your meal table and try something new. World flavors and recipes await you and your family and they include Indian, Middle Eastern, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Mexican and more. You may be surprised that even kids embrace something that gets your family out of a ho-hum dinner rut!
More Homemade Ideas for a Healthy Kitchen
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A traditional breakfast meal can also be lunch or dinner - in a hurry!
Step 1: Meal Planning
There’s no way around it – planning is the first step to a quick, balanced and nutritious meal, or an entire week of meals, that are easy on the wallet. So, take about 20 minutes to plan and jot down notes, if it helps you remember. Draw pictures of meals with the kids, if that helps.
Step 2: Grocery Store Planning
Once your meal planning is clear, turn your attention to a grocery shopping plan. For example, turn your meal ideas into a detailed list, and pull out coupons that will save you cash on healthy purchases.
Step 3: Sticking With Your Plan
Succeeding in your kitchen and at the meal table is doable for everyone. Think simple foods. Think colorful plate. Think I will stick to my plan. If you make planning time and stick with your plan, then you’ll be amazed how much smoother the week will go.
Trusted Resources for Success!
If you are looking for an easy-to-understand way to move toward nutritional success in your own kitchen, consider my 3 e-books, Tasty Menus, Tasty Recipes for Breakfast Lunch Dinner Snacks, and Tasty Recipes for Sides Dishes. There is a nice price discount when you buy all 3 at once!
Kitchen ‘plant’ scraps are good for the garden!
A Food Plan Comes First!
1. Set aside 20 minutes to plan meals for the week ahead.
2. Use your free resources, like the grocery store ad and a trusted cookbook or website.
3. Firm up your plan on a day-by-day wipe board, simple notebook or smart phone list.
Sticking with Your Plan Comes Next!
1. Write a detailed shopping list and arrange it to match the layout of your grocery store to save time.
2. Store food carefully when you get home, labeling and dating perishable items like dairy foods, fresh deli meat/cheese, and freshly-cut fruits/veggies.
3. Ask all members of the family >4 years old to pitch in and help with meal plans throughout the week.
Saving Money is Your Reward!
1. Get familiar with your grocery store receipt and your food budget.
2. Look in your kitchen trash can and see what you are throwing away, day-by-day.
3. Add up the cost of food in your trash. Then, think about a smarter grocery list next week to reduce wasted food and money.
For more everyday tips about saving money as you feed yourself and your family well, please LIKE me on Facebook and join the discussion!