Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pre-Thanksgiving Meal!

Today is a busy day, full of some freelance work, packing and spending some quality time with my husband before picking up the girlies before the fun Thanksgiving Holiday. But before all the craziness, I am going to enjoy a quiet, homemade meal that I would call a "Pre-Thanksgiving Meal". It is nothing like turkey, stuffing, gravy, potato and pie...but you can never go wrong with chicken thighs and sweet potatoes!

All I did was lightly season my chicken thighs with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, I mixed melted margarine (Smart Balance Omega-3) with garlic powder, red pepper flakes and basil. Then I poured it over the chicken thighs and cooked until liquid was clear from chicken. Delicious!

Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels to all.....

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Be Thankful...

As I read this quote, the colors and words are so calming because this is not only what Thanksgiving is about but what life is about...being thankful for the good in life, focusing on the positives and being around those you love and care about. I have become a stronger person because I continue to surround myself around people that are positive. Nothing is better for mental health than being with friends and family. Although I have spent some quality time with my daughters, husband, in laws and a friend from work earlier tonight, having time to reflect and be thankful for what life has to offer makes everything feel is to a new week, full of thankfulness for family, and of course, good food!! :-)
Speaking of good food, here is a yummy sweet potato dish that is mouth watering....I did modify this to lower the total sugar content, but please note: flavor is still impeccable!

All you need:
3 c. sweet potatoes, mashed
1 c. brown sugar (*I used 3/4 c. Stevia)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c. milk, 1%
1/2 c. melted butter (Smart Balance Omega-3)
1/2 c. brown sugar (*I used 1/4 c.)
1/3 c. flour (*I used almond flour)
1/3 c. melted butter (*Feel free to use half spray butter)
1 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
All you do:
Let sweet potatoes cool. Combine first six ingredients. Blend thoroughly and pour into a coated 1 1/2 - 2 quart casserole dish. Mix topping ingredients and sprinkle on top. Bake for approximately 30 minutes at 350 degrees F or until lightly golden brown. Serves 6-8.

*Note: This dish is absolutely delicious served cold as a dessert. Add light whipped topping. Perfect crustless sweet potato dessert for Thanksgiving! Ideal for those on a low carb diet.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Comfort of Your Family Reflection

Nothing is better on a cold day than a hot cup of cappuccino. The holidays are approaching, and there is something special and comforting about relaxing in a coffee shop, thinking about fun family time ahead. Recently, me and my family were thrown an unexpected challenge. Nothing beats family, plain and simple. They are with you through thick and thin.  Through everything, I know that life goes on and that without struggles, I wouldn't be able to strengthen myself personally and professionally. 

All in all, this is what holidays are all about - comfort food, good conversation, family time and ultimately, relaxation. Some of my favorite comfort foods include vegetables. Not surprising coming from a dietitian...but hey, let me show you how vegetables can be transformed into delectable dishes for the holidays. My husband makes an amazing chili recipe with the traditional ground beef and tomatoes. However, I have decided this year to make something different and unique. As I write more posts and get back into blogging, one of my goals is to demonstrate how healthy food choices can be transformed into satisfying yet delicious outcomes. Here is a sweet potato black bean chili recipe that is sure to make your taste buds happy campers. It is family friendly, healthy AND yummy. It is filled with good soluble fiber which is important for digestive health and may help lower bad cholesterol and manage blood sugars. And there is always time for that cup of cappuccino on the days you simply want to sit back and enjoy what life throws your way. :-)

Makes: 4 servings, about 2 cups each Active Time: Total Time: 


  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium-large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile (see Note) 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 4 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato and onion and cook, stirring often, until the onion is beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, chipotle and salt and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add water and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the sweet potato is tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. Add beans, tomatoes and lime juice; increase heat to high and return to a simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.


  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Note: Chipotle peppers are dried, smoked jalapeƱo peppers. Ground chipotle chile pepper can be found in the spice section of most supermarkets or online at 


Per serving: 307 calories; 8 g fat (1 g sat, 5 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 51 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 12 g protein; 14 g fiber; 494 mg sodium; 947 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (213% daily value), Vitamin C (48% dv), Iron (32% dv), Folate (29% dv), Potassium (27% dv), Calcium (16% dv).
Carbohydrate Servings: 2 1/2
Exchanges: 3 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 lean meat

Source: Meredith Co. 2014