Monthly Archives: September 2012

Mustard Chicken with Brussels Sprouts

I love using produce that is in season and this chicken recipe makes some delicious fall brussels sprouts! The flavor-packed sauce is a great compliment to both the chicken and vegetables.  YUM!

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
salt and pepper
3/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth, divided
1/4 cup unfiltered apple cider
2 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
12 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

1. Preheat oven to 450°.
2. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and add to pan. Cook 3 minutes or until browned. Flip chicken and place pan in oven.
3. Bake at 450° for 9 minutes or until done. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.
4. Heat the pan you used for the chicken over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup broth and cider; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 4 minutes or until thickened. Whisk in mustard, 1 tablespoon butter, and parsley.
5. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add Brussels sprouts; sauté 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Add remaining 1/4 cup broth to pan, cover, and cook 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Serve sprouts with chicken and sauce.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition Information per Serving: 355 calories, 14.9 g total fat, 5.2 g saturated fat, 42.8 g protein, 11.6 g carbohydrate, 3.5 g fiber, 114 mg cholesterol

Cooking Light, December 2011



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Raspberry Chocolate Parfaits

This “healthified” ice cream parfait made with frozen Greek yogurt will fool your taste buds into thinking they are indulging in a sweet treat, but you will be consuming only about 100 calories per serving! This is also a great recipe to make with kids – they will love layering their own parfait!

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries, divided
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
1 cup low-fat vanilla frozen Greek yogurt
1 oz (about 1/4 cup) shaved dark or bittersweet chocolate

1. Combine half of the raspberries, sugar, and orange juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 8 minutes. Stir occasionally to break up the berries. Remove from heat, combine with the rest of the raspberries, and place in freezer for about 5 minutes to cool.
2. Place 2 Tbsp frozen Greek yogurt in the bottom of 4 glasses or serving containers. Top each serving with 3 Tbsp raspberry mixture and 1 1/2 tsp chocolate shavings. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Yield: 4 servings

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, October 2012

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Food and Your Mood

The saying, “you are what you eat,” is true in a sense. If you find yourself irritable, stressed, cranky, tired, or depressed, your diet and lifestyle may play a bigger role than you originally thought. Changing your diet might just help! Also, exercising as little as 20 minutes per day has been shown to improve your mood.

Stabilize your blood sugars: Drastic spikes and dips in your blood sugar may be the culprit for your bad mood. Eat every 4-5 hours; limit your intake of refined carbohydrates such as sugar, candy, soda; white flour, cookies, etc; incorporate more soluble fiber in your diet to slow down absorption of carbohydrates (found in oats, whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and beans); add protein to all meals and snacks to slow down the absorption of carbohydrates into the blood.

Avoid vitamin/mineral deficiencies: People with anemia tend to feel more tired and depressed. Different vitamin/mineral deficiencies have different effects on the body which may affect hormone levels and in turn affect mood. Eat a balanced diet, take vitamin/mineral supplement to meet needs, and/or talk to your doctor about any concerns, such as anemia.

Comfort Foods: Sometimes, you just crave foods that are not necessarily “good” for you. Don’t fret if you cant think of a healthier response and indulge – enjoy the food. Don’t let the food item ruin your mood – you ate it to feel better! After you eat it, be sure to avoid guilting yourself into not eating later. Consume a light but filling meal on your regular schedule to avoid blood sugar drops. You can also make your comfort foods healthier – look for lower fat ice cream, dark chocolate, make your own cookies with whole-wheat flour, etc.

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Cholesterol – this word has such a bad connotation. People think cholesterol means heart disease, coronary artery disease, and death. Cholesterol itself isn’t bad, it is one of the many substances used by the body to keep us healthy. It is a main component in cell membranes, steroid hormones, bile acids, and helps to transform sunlight into vitamin D. About 75% of the cholesterol you need is made by the body, while the rest comes from the food we eat. What is important to know is that there is “good” and “bad” cholesterol. Having too much “bad” cholesterol and/or not enough “good” cholesterol can put you at a heath risk. HDL is the “good” cholesterol that prevents the LDL (“bad”) cholesterol from sticking to your artery walls. When too much LDL cholesterol is circulating in the blood it can clog arteries causing a heart attack or stroke. LDL is produced naturally by the body, but some genetics cause the body to generate too much LDL cholesterol. Also, eating saturated fat, trans fat, and dietary cholesterol raises your LDL cholesterol. To increase your HDL or “good” cholesterol levels, you can reduce your intake of trans fat, eat a balanced nutritious diet, and engage in regular physical exercise.

Everyone is different – meet with your doctor to discuss your blood cholesterol levels. A registered dietitian can help plan a heart-healthy diet to help meet your cholesterol goals. If genetics has a large role in the problem, lifestyle modifications may not be enough – medication prescribed by your doctor may be the key.

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Fat-Free Apple Butter

This apple butter is an easy way to use up a bunch of apples after a gorgeous fall day full of apple picking! Let it cook in the slow cooker overnight. Different apples will yield different complex flavors – try ‘em all! Great served on whole-wheat toast or on top of seared pork chops.


1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup honey
¼ cup apple cider
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
⅛ tsp ground mace
10 medium apples, peeled and cut unto large chunks

1. Combine all ingredients in a 5-quart electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 10 hours or until apples are very tender.
2. Press apple mixture through a sieve in small batches (about one-fourth of the mixture at a time). Return mashed apple mixture to slow cooker and cook, uncovered, on high 1 ½ hours or until mixture is thick. Stir occasionally.
3. Spoon into a bowl, cover, and chill. Keeps up to one week in the fridge.

Yield: 4 cups (serving size = ¼ cup)

Nutrition Information per Serving: 132 calories, 0 g fat, 35.3 g carbohydrate, 3.1 g fiber, 0 g cholesterol, 6 mg sodium

Cooking Light, October 2004

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Online Tracker for Weight Loss

An online calorie and exercise tracker has major potential to help you reach your weight loss and exercise goals. Research has shown that writing down what you eat while you eat it has a major effect on how much you eat. If you have to write down that you ate 20 cookies, you are more likely to either eat less or not eat the cookies all together. But, even if you write down what you eat on a piece of paper, you may still not know how much calories you are taking in. This is where the benefits of an online calorie tracker come in handy!

Recently I came across (a free program!) and tested it out for a few days. Not only does it have an app for iPhone users, but the website is extremely easy to use and a fun way to track your calories. The site gives you helpful tips as you log in your daily intake. For example, while testing it out, I logged in that I ate a cheeseburger and the tip that popped up was talking about how some fast food joints are high in sodium. The site is full of helpful tips! Also, there is an inspiration feed on the main page that other people write about what has inspired them or how they are doing and others comment back to help motivate and help each other out. This will help you feel like you are not alone in the weight loss process! So this website has it all – calorie tracking, exercise tracking, help and inspiration from other users, and rewards for when you meet goals!

There are many other free websites out there – test them out and see which one works best for you! Meet with a Registered Dietitian (like me!) to determine your specific dietary needs for a safe and healthy weight loss program.

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Foil Packet Dinners

These dinners are quick, easy and a fun way to get the whole family involved! I had a foil meal for dinner last night and it reminded me of my days camping in girl scouts! Whats fun about this dinner is you can add such a variety to the foil packet and it still turns out great! Just cut up whatever you have in your fridge and have each person in your family make their own meal! I tend to just toss in whatever I feel like having! Here are a few easy recipes (each makes one packet):

Carmen’s Packet
chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces (you can use any protein for this basic foil pack!)
1 Tbsp olive oil
Mixed veggies (zucchini, onions, potatoes, peppers, carrots)
Spices as desired (I used chili powder, garlic powder, seasoning salt, and pepper)

Creamy Foil Dinner:
1/2 lb hamburger
mixed veggies
1/2 can cream of mushroom soup
salt, pepper, seasonings to taste

Chicken and Broccoli:
1 chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup broccoli
1/2 cup cooked rice (look for brown rice!)
1/2 can cream of chicken soup
1 Tbsp ranch dressing
cheddar cheese as desired
seasoning as desired

Apricot Pork Chops
boneless pork chops
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1 Tbsp soy sauce
frozen stir-fry vegetables
seasonings (I tend to add a little kick with some hot pepper)

Directions for all dinner foil packs
1. Mix all ingredients together or layer ingredients with protein on bottom of foil packet
2. Pinch foil packet closed so no steam escapes
3. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes, or until done.

If you are camping, use heavy duty foil and double wrap the foil packs so you have no spillage. Place packets on a grill or in the coals of a fire, not the fire itself. This is a great meal to make ahead of time for a camping trip – just keep in the cooler and throw on the fire when ready to eat!

You can also make breakfast!

Breakfast Foil:
1 frozen hash brown patty
2 eggs, scrambled, uncooked
2 frozen sausage patties
seasonings to taste
Cheese (add after cooking)

1. Place hash brown on bottom, layer with other ingredients.
2. Bake at 350 or place in hot coals for 15 minutes or until done.

Enjoy and have fun with it!

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