Apple Tahini Toast

Eating breakfast is a common resolution people make when trying to eat healthier. For most of us, it is a good idea. Skipping breakfast can lead to overeating later in the day as we get overly hungry. It helps wake us up and give us energy we need for the day to get going.

The big problem most people have is having time. This Mediterranean diet inspired breakfast is super fast but still delicious. Tahini is a paste made out of sesame seeds (think peanut butter to peanuts). It’s really delicious and is a major ingredient in hummus. Try it and you will be surprised at how good it is. If you can’t find it, you could substitute your favorite nut butter here.


Apple Tahini Toast (Serves 1, easy to make more)

Apple Tahini Toast

1 slice whole wheat bread or 1 whole wheat English muffin
1 ½ tablespoons tahini
½ apple, sliced
1 teaspoon honey

1. Lightly toast bread or English muffin.
2. Spread tahini over bread. Top with apple slices.
3. Drizzle with honey. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information: (toast)

Calories: 278
Protein: 8 g
Fat: 13 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 36 g
Fiber: 6 g
Sodium: 168 mg

Nutritional Information: (muffin)

Calories: 337
Protein: 10 g
Fat: 14 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 50 g
Fiber: 9 g
Sodium: 269 mg


Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

Mediterranean Diet and Mental Health

Well, you know how I’m always saying not to give up if you slip up on your resolutions? That’s why I’m here! I had the goal to post every week this year…and I missed last week. I’m sorry. It was crazy. But I was doing lots of nutrition thinking.

I had the opportunity to speak at a community event on mental health, specifically on nutrition and mental health. That is a pretty broad way to look at things. For example, eating a cookie seems like it would be good for my mental health when my kids are being crazy in the afternoon. Anyone else?

My focus was more on clinical mental health issues. Turns out, research in both depression and Alzheimer’s disease has shown some benefit to a Mediterranean diet. Overall, the research just shows that a “healthy” diet is good for our brains. Surprising, I know. But the Mediterranean diet has done well in several studies I found and is a generally accepted healthy eating plan. I thought I’d highlight some points of this diet plan today.

1) Primarily a plant based diet. Think whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts. This is NOT a low carb diet. But it does steer away from refined sugars.

2) Focus on healthy fats, particularly olive oil, avocados, and nuts. This is NOT a low fat diet. But research in several areas has shown that a diet high in fat BUT high in healthy fats is good for us.

3) Eat fish at least twice a week. Eat little red meat, focusing more on fish and poultry. Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, and arctic char, are great for our heart and circulation. Avoid fried fish.

4) Get plenty of exercise. This has immediate benefits for your mental well being as it releases endorphins that make you feel good.

5) Enjoy meals with friends and family. Slow down and savor your food and the dining experience. Often, you can find that you eat less when you eat more slowly. Just be careful to not slow down and sit at the table SO long that you keep taking seconds, thirds, etc.

6) Optional: drink red wine in moderation. Some health benefits have been shown with drinking nor more than 5 ounces of wine per day. However, most health professionals do not encourage ADDING drinking to your diet. Just drink with a purpose if you already do drink.

Below are some Mediterranean diet friendly recipes from this site. I’ll be back tomorrow with a simple breakfast idea. Enjoy!

Baba Ganoush
Baba Ganoush

Hummus Pasta
Hummus Pasta

Grilled Salmon
Grilled Salmon

Fish Tacos with Spicy Slaw
Fish Tacos with Spicy Slaw

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Hummus Variations

Chicken Shawarma
Chicken Shawarma

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Slow Cooker Overnight Oatmeal

How are your health resolutions going? Are you going strong or have you fallen off the bandwagon already? No shame either way. I’ve met some of my goals, slipped at others. Here’s the thing I think most people forget: it is a goal for ALL of 2018. So if it takes until December 31 to do it, that is 100% ok.

My #1 advice I can give you if things aren’t going so well is to TRY AGAIN! But before trying again, think about what went wrong. For me, I often make really good goals then don’t set myself up for success. For example, I wanted to eat more vegetables at lunch. But then didn’t buy anything. Oops! So now I bought a bunch of salad stuff that is really easy to throw together at lunch or into my smoothie at breakfast. Magic! I’m eating more vegetables.

Another tip to succeeding is to move decisions from a hard time to an easy time. For example, if you made a resolution to eat breakfast, help yourself out and make things ahead of time. Then, when it is morning and you are rushed and busy it is easy to eat rather than easy to skip it.

This overnight oatmeal is great for that. You mix it and put it in the slow cooker before you go to bed. Then you have warm, healthy breakfast waiting when you get up. This is great for families with a variety of schedules because everyone can just grab some when it is convenient. Just don’t forget to plug in the slow cooker like I did once. That leads to frowns in the morning.

Slow Cooker Overnight Oatmeal (Serves 4-6)

(Sorry no pic right now. Life happens a lot in the morning at my house.)

¾ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup steel cut oats
3 cups skim milk
1 cup water

1. In a glass bowl, mix ingredients.
2. Place bowl inside slow cooker. Pour enough water around bowl up as high as the oatmeal mixture.
3. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
4. Stir and serve.

Nutrient Analysis (amount per serving):

Calories: 198
Protein: 6 gm
Fat: 1 gm
Saturated Fat: less than 1 gm
Cholesterol: 3 mg
Carbohydrates: 43 gm
Fiber: 2 gm
Sodium: 60 mg

Recipe Notes: It does HAVE to be steel cut oats. I have used the Coach’s oats from Costco, which work well. You could mix everything straight in the slow cooker. However, it is likely to burn/stick to the sides and bottom and be somewhat difficult to clean. Putting it in the bowl keeps that mess from happening. Also, I think it is a gentler cook in the bowl. So I have cooked mine for longer than 8 hours and it is fine.

Variation: Peach Oatmeal

Add in 2 large peaches, sliced (about 2 cups) or 28-ounce can sliced peaches in juice, drained; 1 teaspoon ginger; 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg; and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Nutrient Analysis (amount per serving):

Calories: 222
Protein: 6 gm
Fat: 1 gm
Saturated Fat: less than 1 gm
Cholesterol: 3 mg
Carbohydrates: 48 gm
Fiber: 2 gm
Sodium: 60 mg

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

New Year and I’m back…again

Friends. So sorry for the long hiatus again. I’m sort of perennially working on a menu project that someday I’ll be super excited to share with you. And then I had a baby and being a mom of 3 has rocked my world. It’s all good things, but means I’m struggling to get over here to share recipes and tips.

But it’s a new year and my resolution is to post here at least once a week. And in the spirit of resolutions, here are some thoughts on health related resolutions.

1) Have your heard of Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies? It is a framework for seeing how you relate to changing behavior. If you haven’t taken the easy quiz to find out your tendency, you should check it out here. It will you help you actually achieve your resolutions this year.

2) Try to make your resolutions specific enough to measure but broad enough to help you succeed. Here’s what I mean. Don’t say “lose 20 pounds”. That is super specific and there is only 1 way to succeed. On the inverse, “eat more vegetables” is too broad. How do you measure that? Try: Get 2 servings of vegetables at lunch 3 days a week. Specific enough to measure but broad enough that you can have a couple off days or slip ups while still succeeding.

3) Keep overall health and sustainability in mind. One of my friends started a weight loss journey in December that she is chronicling on social media. She had some great success immediately after a week long juice fast. Now as she is back to eating food, her weight loss has stalled. So she is going back to the juice fast. While I don’t think she is going to do any permanent damage, she should try to focus on food and a pattern that is sustainable while losing weight. It may not be fast. But even if she isn’t losing weight, the exercise and healthy food should make her feel better and is better for her body. Keep those ideas in mind.

4) Slow and steady wins the race. As I mentioned with my friend above, achieving health related goals is rarely a quick process. But if you keep at it, you will feel better. You may not succeed in 1 week or even 1 month. But keep on keeping on. If you slip up, laugh it off and try again the next day.

Good luck and I’ll be back next week with a recipe!

Leave a comment

Filed under Nutrition

It’s Autumntime!

It’s autumn or fall or that beautiful period where the weather is generally delightful between the heat of summer and the frost of winter. Leaves are changing colors. It’s my favorite season.

However, I feel like the world gets overtaken by pumpkin EVERYTHING. There are lots of great fall flavors besides pumpkin. Here are just some of the fruits and vegetables in season right now:

Acorn Squash
Brussels Sprouts
Butter Lettuce
Butternut Squash
Delicata Squash
Sweet Potato
Swiss Chard

Here are some of my favorite fall recipes:

Spaghetti with Greens and Garlic
Apple Pancakes
Southwestern Shepherd’s Pie
Spaghetti Squash with Marinara
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos
Pumpkin Dinner
Roasted Cauliflower Soup
Sweet Potato Pancakes
White Chicken Chili
Veggie Sweet Potato Chili

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

Shrimp and Creamed Corn

Fall is here, and I couldn’t be more excited. Fall is my favorite season – crisp air, beautiful colors of leaves, pulling out sweaters and blankets. I love the flavors too – apples, pears, pumpkin, squash.

Today’s recipe is none of those things. I promise I’ll bring those soon. But this is a delicious throw back to summer that still sticks to your ribs like a good fall dinner. Slightly spicy shrimp on a delicious, creamy base. Enjoy!

Shrimp and Creamed Corn (Serves 4)

Shrimp and Creamed Corn

8 ears of corn, shucked
1 ½ cups skim milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
¼ teaspoon salt
12 ounces peeled and deveined shrimp
½ – 1 teaspoon salt-free Creole seasoning
¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup halved grape tomtoates
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup sliced green onions

1. Cut kernels from corn; reserve cobs. Set aside ½ cup kernels. Pulse remaining kenrels in a food processor until almost creamy.

2. Using dull side of knife, scrape corn cobs to remove “milk” and pulp into a medium saucepan. Add processed corn, milk, and cornstarch to pan.

3. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low or low; simmer until thick (about 5-7 minutes), stirring frequently. Stir in 1 ½ tablespoons butter and ¼ teaspoon salt. Keep warm.

4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and remaining ½ tablespoon of butter. Once butter is melted, add shrimp, Creole seasoning, paprika, and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes, thyme, garlic, onions, and reserved corn. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are done. Serve over creamed corn.

Recipe Notes: If you can’t find corn on the cob or it is too pricey out of season, I’m guessing you could use frozen corn. When I made this, I didn’t get much “milk” out of my cobs. And it would likely be a lot less messy. Also, the full 1 teaspoon of Creole seasoning made this fairly spicy. You might want to opt with less if you are sensitive or want small children to eat this.

Source: adapted from Cooking Light


Filed under Recipes

Pre-shredded Cheese – yes or no

I recently made a recipe that said the sauce would be creamier if using self-shredded cheese versus pre-shredded cheese bought at the store. I’ve often heard people say they don’t like the pre-shredded cheese. I’ll admit I’ve gone in phases of which I buy. So is there really a difference?

The answer is yes. Pre-shredded cheese is coated with anti-clumping agents, such as starch and/or cellulose, and often also with anti-molding agents. These make them last longer and not melt together into a large clump in the bag. But it can also mean they won’t melt together as well when putting them in a sauce or on a dish.

So what should you buy? That is a matter of personal preference. None of these additives change the nutrition to a level that matters. Personally, I buy big bags of pre-shredded mozzarella that I store in the freezer. Then I’m always ready for pizza or pasta, which are “back-up” meals for me. And I find mozzarella a pain to shred. I buy block cheese of other cheeses for cost and varied utility.

Happy eating!

Leave a comment

Filed under Nutrition