May 13, 2013

Taking a Break

This Mother's Day, I was reminded again how thankful I am for my wonderful husband and two little ones. They are precious gifts from the Lord that I want to cherish every single day. I'll be the first to admit that raising young kids is challenging, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

With kids, home life, work commitments and all the things in between, I've decided it's time to unplug and take a little break.

I am very thankful for all the support and positive feedback and I'll be back again soon. 

Much love, health and happiness to you all!

Apr 2, 2013

Brussels Sprouts Salad

I've been feeling the need to simplify my life lately. You know, the need to set some priorities and decide what stays and what goes. One of my top priorities at home is to make sure I feed my family healthy, good-tasting food. Last week, I realized that in order to do this I need to create a dinner menu to streamline evenings and help things run smoothly. Two kids under the age of three running around aren't exactly the ticket to smooth dinner times, if you know what I mean.

Once I sat down to plan meals, I remembered to include this delicious brussels sprouts salad recipe. It's very simple, quick and easy to prepare. The dressing is homemade, and also easy and healthy.

I like to use extra virgin olive oil or canola oil for salad dressings. Even though oils are fattening, they contain healthy fats that may actually improve health. I just make sure to dress salads with a small amount of dressing (about 1-2 teaspoons for a cup of salad).  This recipe makes a lot of dressing, so you might have a bit leftover. I like making a large batch anyway to use for the next few days.

Assembling this salad is a breeze. And thankfully, Will gobbles this stuff up; I even witnessed him asking for a second serving, which rarely happens with vegetables and toddlers.

It starts with a few simple ingredients, but I'm warning's highly addictive!

Addictive Brussels Sprouts Salad (adapted slightly from

  • 24 Brussels sprouts,finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1 cup toasted nuts, chopped
  • 9 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons apple cinder vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper
Finely chop Brussels sprouts, set aside. Dice nuts and grate parmesan cheese. Place ingredients in a bowl. To prepare the dressing, simply mix oil, vinegar and mustard in a jar, shake it a few times and pour over salad mixture. It's good eaten right away, but also has some staying power for leftovers the next day.

Mar 19, 2013

Healthy Banana Breakfast Muffins

"Breakfast is the most important meal of the day" a patient told me recently. And it's true, it's one of the most important meals of the day, including lunch and dinner. I've always been a good breakfast eater. Sitting down, sipping coffee and enjoying a nice light breakfast just puts me in a good mood. The problem is, especially on days I work, I rarely have time for this relaxing ritual. Let's face it, I can barely get the kids dressed and fed let alone myself.

So I decided to experiment with some healthy breakfast muffin recipes that would make hurried mornings a bit easier. I came across this one, which I love because you can literally grab one out of the freezer, defrost for a minute in the microwave and be on your way. Plus, they're a healthy alternative to regular muffins which are high in fat and sugar. Now on busy mornings, I grab a muffin and a greek yogurt cup for some extra protein, and I'm out the door. 

Here are some of the ingredients...

Banana Breakfast Muffins (adapted from Bran Buds Muffins)

  • 1 1/2 cups all bran cereal (or your favorite high fiber cereal)
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups fat free milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • Cinnamon Sugar (optional): 1 Tablespoon sugar + 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor, crush cereal until it resembles fine crumbs. In a mixing bowl, combine cereal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, mix milk, vanilla, egg whites, vegetable oil and mashed bananas. Add dry mixture to wet mixture and mix only until combined, being careful not to over-mix. Portion batter into muffin tin (it will make about 12 muffins). Lightly sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture on top. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Feb 27, 2013

Perfect Roasted Salmon

Being healthy is hard sometimes. You have to say no to foods you really want. You have to learn to like all those green veggies you hated as a kid. Then you have to learn to cook healthy foods in a way your family will like. Exhausting. Well, good thing for recipes like this that make cooking healthy a breeze. If you haven't noticed, I've been really into easy recipes lately. I dunno. Maybe it's the 6 month old baby and 3 year old at home? Just a thought.

This recipe has been making it's way around pinterest for I don't know how long. I've had it on my "to try" list for a while, and boy I should have done it earlier. It's is so easy, you don't even have to think in advance to pre-heat your oven. 

Here we go.

Start with salmon. I used 4 fillets about 5 oz each. Salmon is loaded with healthy fats and is a great source of protein. I try to have some at least once per week.

Then, sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. I used the salt sparingly - you know - to help maintain healthy blood pressure.

 I used about 1 tsp of oil per fillet, which adds about 5grams of fat for each serving. That's enough to add good flavor without making it too heavy.

Put the salmon in the oven, then turn on the oven to 400F. Let bake for 25 minutes and you'll have moist, delicious, perfectly cooked salmon. Yum!

I paired mine with brown rice and steamed broccoli. I love it when healthy things are easy.

Feb 4, 2013

Healthy Ideas for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is around the corner, and you know what that means: candy, chocolate, more candy, flowers, more chocolate, etc. With all those treats on sale, making healthy choices can be difficult, right?

For me, Valentine's Day is a nice way to set aside some time for my husband and I. Now that we have a bigger family, spending quality time together is even more important. So here are some healthy ways to show that special someone you care.
  1. If you're going with chocolate, buy dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa). It has phytochemicals and when eaten in moderation, may help prevent heart disease. Hint: make sure cocoa is the first on the ingredient list.
  2.  Go for a walk with your love.
  3. Make a healthy meal together and enjoy by candlelight.
  4. If you do go out to eat, share an entree. It will cut costs and control portions!
  5. Celebrate Valentines Day with your kids with healthy treats like mini-boxes of raisins or pretzels, pencils or stickers.
  6. Be creative: make a Valentines Day craft! Here are some cute ideas from Martha Stewart.
  7. Fore more fun tips, visit the American Heart Association.

What are you doing to celebrate Valentine's Day this year?

Jan 28, 2013

The Last Pancake Recipe You'll Ever Need

This week is potty training week with Will. I've asked for advice from practically every mom I know. I've looked into several potty training "methods". Truth be told, I've been dreading this day. Fear of the unknown? I don't know. I've stalled long enough. It's time. Today is day one of the "three day potty training method". The technique has received a lot of good reviews, but every child is different, so let's just say I'm cautiously hopeful things will click and work out.

To make up for the fact that I planned to take away Wills diapers and temporarily turn his world upside down, I tried to make this last weekend a good one. You know, sweeten him up so maybe - just maybe - he'll go along with the plan. So I made dark chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast Saturday morning. I've experimented with a lot of pancake recipes, so I was glad to finally find this one....THE ONE. The last pancake recipe I'll ever need. I don't always add chocolate chips, but the recipe is totally flexible like that. Will was happy. Mission accomplished.

 Dark Chocolate Chip Pancakes 

2 Cups all purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups low fat milk
3 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)


Mix first four ingredients together. In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients. The key is to make sure you beat the eggs prior to mixing with dry ingredients to prevent over-mixing the batter. Then, mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients just until combined. Heat griddle to low-medium heat, spray pan with canola oil spray and pour batter into 4 inch diameter circles. After a few minutes or until golden brown, flip pancakes onto other side. Repeat until all batter is gone.

Enjoy with a side of fruit and love. Wish me luck!

Jan 12, 2013

Vegetarian Lentil Soup

Last year, Walt and I went to Costco and ended up coming home with the mother lode of lentils. I refer to this as the dreaded "Costco effect" (buying 8 gallons of something you don't really need just because it's a great price). How could we resist an enormous bag of lentils for like three bucks? Owned!

Consequently, we (read: me) have been trying to go through said lentils. Definitely NOT as easy at is sounds. I've added them to soups, stews, side dishes, etc. But there's only so many lentils you can eat in a week, you know? Plus, I wasn't finding any recipes that I absolutely loved. So, it has been a slow process.

But recently, things changed. I came across a good lentil soup recipe and improved it with a secret ingredient: Fire roasted tomatoes. Roasting is one of my favorite ways to add a ton of flavor without loading on extra salt and fat. I used canned fire roasted tomatoes for convenience sake. Plus they were on sale, so I stocked up.

I like this recipe mostly because it tastes great and thankfully, it's also really healthy. It's loaded with nutritious lentils and vegetables, which provide fiber and essential vitamins like Vitamin C and A. Plus, fiber helps you feel fuller longer and can combat cravings. I certainly need a little of that in my life. And did I also mention this recipe is really cheap to make? What's not to love?

Let's get started.

First, saute your veggies.

Next, reach for the secret ingredient.

Finally, add your tomatoes, stock,  dried oregano and basil, and cooked lentils.
 Stir and let simmer.

 And done. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Lentil Soup (Adapted from: Lentil Soup)


2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
2 Carrots, Peeled and Chopped
2-14.5oz Cans of Fire Roasted Tomatoes (with garlic)
1 1/4 Cups Cooked Lentils
4 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
Green Onions, Sliced


Saute onions and carrots in olive oil on medium heat until tender. Add canned tomatoes, stock, cooked lentils, dried basil and oregano and stir until combined. Simmer on low for about 15-20 minutes. Serve with sliced green onions on top.