Inspiring healthier eating one dish at a time

Should you buy organic strawberries and spinach?

The 2017 list of the Dirty Dozen is out.  Should we be giving up strawberries and spinach, or buying organic?

One of the questions I’m most frequently asked is whether it’s worth the extra money to buy organic food.  I’ve written about this in the past, and since the Environmental Working Group just recently published their annual list of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15, it seems like a good time for a recap.

In case you’re not familiar, The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 are lists of the top fruits and vegetables with the highest, and lowest amounts of detectable pesticide residues.  This year, strawberries and spinach took the top spots. Some strawberry samples tested contained 21 different types of chemicals (including pesticides, fungicides, insecticides) many of which are linked to cancer, reproductive and developmental damage, hormone disruption and neurological problems.


The test results on spinach found similar results – 16 types of chemicals were found in some batches. Seventy-five percent of the samples contained residues of the insecticide permethrin.  At high doses, permethrin overwhelms the nervous system and causes tremors and seizures. In one study, children with detectable levels of permethrin in their urine were twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD.

Continue Reading..

Strawberry Almond Smoothie & a Special Offer for National Nutrition Month...

Celebrate National Nutrition Month and join us at Lightwell Health to learn how to Put Your Best Fork Forward!

This post is sponsored by Lightwell Health.  I am a paid member of the company, but I was not compensated to write this post.   

I think for many of us, March is the month when we think about change. The clocks. The weather. Our winter to spring wardrobe. It’s also a perfect month to change up our diet. To put aside those heavier comfort foods and bring on the colorful, lighter and healthier fare that’s just starting to pop up in the produce department.


So, it’s kind of fitting that March is also National Nutrition Month – a time that I like to remind everyone healthy eating can mean different things to different people, and there is no right or wrong when it comes to eating, or any one-size-fits-all diet.  If you’ve never done so (or if you feel the need for a tune-up), it’s also a great time to work with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) to learn some nutrition basics that will help keep you young and aging gracefully, to learn how to make the most of the foods you like, and hopefully, to inspire you to try a few new foods and change up the way you think about food. Continue Reading..

Skinny Low Carb Shepherd’s Pie

This Skinny, Low Carb Shepherd’s Pie is perfect for when the weather calls for comfort food, but the calendar’s heading toward spring!

It seems like no matter where in the country you live, the winter of 2017 has been full of crazy, wonky weather.  We’ve gone from torrential rain in drought-stricken California, to blizzard conditions followed by 70 degrees in New England.  Is it el niño, or la niña or a definite case of global warming? One thing is certain – it makes for some meal planning confusion!  One minute I’m craving soups, stews and comfort food, and the next minute I’m firing up the grill and craving corn on the cob.

Since it is almost March, I’m feeling like we should start to lighten things up a bit, because shorts season will be her before we know it!  For me, that means more veggies, leaner proteins, and fewer carbs.  This Skinny version of Shepherd’s pie is a perfect blend of warm comfort food, but I’ve lightened it up with turkey instead of hamburger, and I’ve skipped the corn and subbed in some chopped apple and pecan.  It tastes like Thanksgiving food, but it’s light enough for springtime.  Continue Reading..


A few good reasons to not fear gluten…

People… Not everyone should cut out gluten!  There are lots of healthy gluten-containing whole grains that need some love.

Carbs, especially those that contain gluten, have gotten a really bad rap the past few years, and I’m feeling kind of bad for them.  I’m not talking about donuts, or even Italian or ciabatta bread (although I do love all of you dearly – in moderation!).  I’m talking about good old oats (even though you technically don’t contain gluten), or farro, or wheatberries or all of those other whole grains that deserve a place in a healthy diet.  After all, it’s all about balance, moderation, and quality, right?! Continue Reading..

Pickled Taco Salad {Recipe ReDux}

Kick your Taco Tuesday up a notch with these quick and crunchy refrigerator pickled vegetables

Happy Taco Tuesday friends!  It’s also the 21st of the month, which means it’s time for a Recipe ReDux post – and how convenient is this – February’s theme is all about tacos!  We were asked to share a healthy, creative take on tacos.  Tacos are kind of a staple food in my house, because they’re such a quick, easy, no recipe and minimal ingredients dinner.  If I have lots of time, I’ll do them with grilled fish and a cabbage slaw, if I have a little bit of time, I’ll grill up some chicken and make guacamole and beans, and if I have absolutely no time, it’s just canned black beans and sliced avocado with a sprinkle of salt. Continue Reading..

3-Seed Whole Grain & Kefir Quick Bread

It’s soup season!  Make some for dinner tonight, and serve it with this whole grain quick bread, warm from the oven.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by ReganMillerJones Inc. and the General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition on behalf of Progresso™ .  I received free samples of the soup mentioned in the post and I was compensated for my time. As always, opinions are my own.

I might have mentioned a few dozen or so times, that I’m pretty much addicted to soup, especially when it’s served with fresh quick bread, warm from the oven.  Is there anything better when the weather is cool, cold, or even warmish?? When I lived in Boston, I could eat it all year long. Now, with the 100+ temps in AZ for several months of the year, I’ve had to cut back a bit, but February is soup season, so I’m in full soup swing – it’s like a big hug or a warm blanket on a cold night.  Soup is also my “secret weapon” for balancing any winter weight that might come from indulging in a few too many sweet treats or comfort foods during these long winter months. Eating vegetable or broth-based soups can fill you up for not a whole lot of calories – in fact, research suggests that people who eat soup tend to have healthier body weights. Continue Reading..


How Dorot Makes Garlic Chicken Easy!

Don’t you just love it when you find a really great product that makes your life easier?  I mean, seriously, what did we do before the Swiffer was invented?  Or how about those Yeti cups that keep your drinks ice cold all day, even in the Arizona summer heat? Have you tried those battery-powered sweater fuzz shavers?  All brilliant inventions, and once you try them, you don’t want to be without ’em.

That’s how I feel about these fresh-frozen, preportioned herbs from Dorot. If you haven’t tried them yet – you don’t know what your missing! Continue Reading..


Super-Simple Homemade Peanut Ramen Noodles

No, it’s NOT your dorm room ramen! These delicious, nutritious homemade Peanut Ramen Noodles hit the spot when you’re starving but time and money are short.   

Hey there friends!  It’s time for another Recipe ReDux post, and this month’s theme is “How low can you go?”  We were challenged to create a healthy, delicious, and budget-friendly meal.  It’s a perfect theme for January, as I sort through the never-ending stream of tax forms that come in the mail each day, and realize just how little I earn in a year!  Truth be told, I certainly appreciate a big, fancy and expensive meal – but only if someone else is paying 🙂  I’m just as happy with budget food, as long as it’s fresh. Continue Reading..

Turmeric & Ginger Pickled Cauliflower

This crisp, pickled cauliflower is packed with rich, spicy flavors. It’s a perfect appetizer or accompaniment to your sandwich plate.

Is there any better sight to a dietitian than seeing your family or dinner guests devour a huge plate of cauliflower?  I think not.  Even though we’re known to push as much color as possible onto each and every plate, cauliflower deserves a major pass on that rule. It is, after all, a member of the marvelous cruciferous or brassica family – rich in vitamins C, K, and folate, antioxidants, and cancer-fighting compounds. It’s the sulfur-containing phytochemicals, known as “glucosinolates”  that give cauliflower (and it’s cousins broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts) its super powers – and it’s funky smell and bitter taste. Continue Reading..

Carrot Cake Smoothie Bowl

Clean eating never tasted so good!  These Carrot Cake Smoothie Bowls are a balanced breakfast, but they taste like dessert!

I was asked to participate in the #TasteTruvia campaign as a member of the Healthy Aperture Blogger network. I was compensated for my time, but as always, all opinions are my own.

I’m totally dating myself here, but a million years ago, there was a television ad for Alka-Seltzer called “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing”.  That’s kind of how I’m feeling after the holidays.  I try to keep it as healthy as possible for as long as possible, but by about the time December 20 rolls around, I start sneaking the cookies and candy, and then the company arrives, and there are the dinners out.  And my kids love to make their big bacon, eggs, and hash brown breakfasts – with a big side of fruit, of course. And then there are the cheese boards, with things I rarely eat – like peppered salami. And the wine. Lots of wine.  So, by early January,  when the last of them has been dropped at the airport, I’m ready to jump back on the clean eating bandwagon. Continue Reading..


Apricot Pecan and Honey Goat Cheese Ball

This Apricot-Pecan Goat Cheese Ball is a perfect celebration appetizer, whether you’re having company for the holidays, or celebrating the Recipe ReDux December theme – Grab a Book and Cook! 

Happy holidays friends! We’re counting down to Christmas and holiday parties, AND it’s also time for a Recipe ReDux post. This month’s theme is Grab a Book and Cook – to celebrate the end of 2016.  So…. on page 16 of one of my first favorite cookbooks, The New Basics Cookbook, by the authors of the Silver Palate cookbook,  I found a delicious sounding recipe for Herbed Chevre Bites, and I’m ReDuxing it to add some fruit and nuts, and up the nutrients a bit more. Continue Reading..

Chocolate Peppermint Slice ‘n Bake Shortbread Cookies

These holiday cookies not only taste delicious, they’re also a snap to make! The dough keeps in the freezer. Just slice and bake as needed.

It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas!  No, it’s not the tree – it’s been fake for a while now.  It’s not from the roaring  fire – it’s gas, and it’s not from the hot chocolate – I’m just a coffee drinker.  It’s the from Christmas cookies, people!!  Now that I’m an empty nester, I really don’t have much reason to bake anymore. So it’s kind of nice to have the oven going, and the mixer mixing, and flour all over the place, and all of those fruity, pepperminty, Christmassy smells in the house. Continue Reading..

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