Showing newest 17 of 24 posts from October 2009. Show older posts
Showing newest 17 of 24 posts from October 2009. Show older posts

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Smart Candy Choices

Happy Halloween!!!
I just found this in my inbox and thought I would share. If you plan on eating any candy this first!
Some of the guilt free choices are:
Blow Pop's
Fun Dip
Jolly Ranchers (Hard Candy)
Laffy Taffy
Tootsie Rolls (midgees)
Give it a read before you take those kids trick or treating!!
* Happy Birthday to my mother in law, Ellen! *

Friday, October 30, 2009

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been on a dessert kick lately and it continued this week. I decided to make these after walking through Whole Foods, very slowly, because I need to look at every item in the entire store. (I went by myself which was a good thing, because Danny may have left me if he had been there...) I was getting my stash of dark chocolate chip chunks when I stumbled on vegan carob chips and I decided, hey why not? What's another 4 dollars when I already have $100 worth of things in my cart???? So I bought them and voila, I whipped these up....They are based on a recipe from here.
Vegan "Chocolate Chip" Cookies
2 cups whole flour 2 tsps baking powder 1/2 tsp.salt cinnamon to taste vegan chocolate or carob chips - 1 cup 1 cup raw sugar (turbinado #1, sucanat works too but sucks up a lot of the moisture) 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/4 applesauce 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/4 cup water
1 tbsp maple syrup
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon. Add chips. Make a well in the center and set aside. In a medium size bowl mix vegan sugar, applesauce, maple syrup and oil. Mix it well. Add the vanilla and then add the water. Mix it well. Add the wet to the well in the dry. Mix it well but be careful not to overwork it. Spoon onto ungreased cookie sheets. Put them in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes and then flip and rotate the sheets.(top to bottom,and 180 degree rotation) Bake another 4 minutes and check them. The cookies are done when they are a little softer than you would want them to be because they harden when they cool.
I loved these so much I had to share them with a couple of lucky people! :) Give them a try, you will like them even if you aren't a vegan (like ME!) Happy Halloween AND weekend!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Devil Cupcakes!!

One of my favorite parts of being a teacher is baking for my students. I love to try to make fun cupcakes based on the time of year it is. My Aunt Louise used to get me magazines for every holiday and then go to Target and buy me all the things I would need. For Halloween I started to think about what I wanted to make a couple weeks ago. I went to my moms (where I have wayyyy too much stuff still because a two bedroom apartment just doesn't cut it for 25 years of life....) and dug up an old Halloween magazine I knew I had stashed around. After looking through all of the pages o'fun I decided to go with a cupcake that is made into a devil. It looked the easiest and least time consuming.
I went to Target and got the things I mostly needed with a little improvisation. I changed the recipe a little bit because I couldn't find those small tiny candy hearts (for the mouth) or chocolate wafer cookies (for the beard). I think my improv worked out great. They aren't perfect cupcakes, but they are good enough for 4th graders. I know they will be psyched.
I ended up baking the cupcakes last night because I knew I wouldn't get home until 5:30 last night and I didn't want to have to deal with dinner AND wait for the cupcakes to be totally cool. This worked out much easier I thought because after dinner (while Danny cleaned up) i started to cut the DOT candy in half. They took about 45 minutes to finish them completely. Danny did most of the icing and then I did the rest of the decorating.
What you will need (for 24 cupcakes):
1 box of cupcake mix
1 container of vanilla icing
1 bottle of red dye (to make red icing)
1 box DOTS candy (use only red and pink and cut them in 1/2)
1 bag of M&M's (you could use mini if you only need brown and red)
1 black icing that you can write with
1 bottle of red sprinkles
I have 27 students (YES 27 students...) so I used 2 boxes of cupcake mix and made extra for some friends and family. So when I went to mix the red dye with the icing (I mixed it with 2 containers...whichhhh ended up being way too much.) I realized I needed to use the entire bottle to make it a nice rich red color, but to only do one container of icing you probably would only need half the bottle.
We iced all of the cupcakes first and then did the decorating. After we iced them all we rolled the outside of the cupcake in the red sprinkles. (We had the red sprinkles on a small flat plate.) Take 2 of the red or pink DOTS candy and place them on the top to make horns. Place 2 brown M&M's (M side down) to make the eyes. Place a red M&M in the center to make a nose. Carefully draw 2 eyebrows and a mouth with the black icing.
Devils in a box! Ehhh thank goodness Danny inherited his father's love for kitchen cleaning. If you asked my mom what we do at 7 at night she would say, "Nicole sits on the couch and Danny does all the cleaning...." which isn't um, completely true (or false...). I do put away leftovers REALLY, REALLY well! I hope you enjoy these cupcakes! I (we?) had fun making them!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

To die for Apple Crisp!

I have been reading SO many amazing blog posts about all the wonderful things people are doing with apples. Apples are EVERYWHERE this time of year and I LOVE it! I only like to eat apples when they are fresh and really crisp and we have a couple of apples in our drawer that are lacking in both of those areas.
I went right to my favorite blogs and found a couple of apple crisp recipes. I decided to use the one I am going to post below. I found it here on one of my new favorite blogs, How Sweet It Is.
The apple crisp took about 10 minutes to prepare and cooked for 30 minutes, so it really didn't take that long. I adapted it a little bit to fit what I had in my pantry.
Apple Crisp

  • 2 honeycrisp apples (or any apples in your drawer really)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • Preheat oven to 375.

Chop apples and combine with 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon, salt, and brown sugar in a small baking dish or muffin tray.

In a separate bowl, stir flour, sugar and remaining cinnamon. Chop 1 tablespoon of butter and add it to flour. Mash with a fork until thoroughly combined and small bits of butter remain. Add vanilla and milk gradually, stiring as you go. You don’t want the mix to be watery or too thick. It should be somewhat sticky.

Spread dough on top of apples, and place in over. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes, or until apples look juicy and topping is golden brown.

Enjoy this recipe - I will be making it a couple (or more) times in the future. It just warms you right up inside! (Sorry for the terrible picture I have been really lazy about taking them and have been using my BlackBerry!)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More Vitamin Info !

I have written about the importance of vitamin D before, but after reading this article I thought that I would again write about vitamins. My mom just got her levels checked and her vitamin D levels were extremely low. After doing some reading, I know she is NOT alone.

In a perfect world none of us would have to take a multi vitamin or any other vitamin because our diet would include everything we need. But we certainly don’t live in that perfect world and it’s VERY hard to take in your daily needs for every single vitamin. Multivitamins help bridge any nutritional gap you may have in your diet. So in addition to your multi vitamin, if you fit into any of these scenarios SHAPE magazine suggests you should look into the recommended supplements.

  1. You’re trying to lose weight – Are you still trying to shed those last couple of pounds? If you aren’t getting enough (1,000 milligrams) of calcium than it may be harder for you to take the weight off.

What you should do: Take three doses of 500 mg at three different times. (You’re body can only absorb it in 500 mg increments.) Don’t take it with caffeine or wheat bran, it blocks absorption. You could also eat 1 cup of cottage cheese (187 mg) or 1 cup of soybeans (195mg).

  1. You’re on the pill – Are you tired all of the time? It could be your birth control. You probably have low levels of vitamin B6. B6 helps change food into energy and not getting enough can lead to tiredness and irritability.

What you should do: Get 2mg from a daily multi-vitamin. (Don’t get more than 100mg of this daily, it can lead to nerve damage!) You can also eat 1 baked potato (.5 mg), 1 banana (.4 mg) or 1 cup of red pepper slices (.3 mg).

  1. You’re a vegetarian – You do not get enough vitamin b12 and iron which comes from meat. B12 vitamins maintain healthy nerves and red blood cells. Iron transports oxygen to your body and not getting enough can lead to tiredness and anemia.

What you should do: take 2.4 mcg of B12 and 33 mg of iron. Don’t take your pill with coffee or tea. You can eat 1 cup lentils (7mg iron), or 1 veggie burger (2 mg iron).

  1. Your training for a race – Pounding on the pavement those extra miles a week can do a number on your bones. You need to take extra calcium and vitamin D for bone strength. These need to be taken together because vitamin D boosts calcium absorption. Upping your dose of these will help repair your bones that may get hurt during your training.

What you should do: Get 2,000 mg of calcium (in 500 mg doses) and 800 IU of vitamin D before your race. You can also drink 1 cup non fat milk (302 mg of calcium and 98 IU vitamin D.)

  • Remember to also consult your doctor to make sure your supplements do not interact with medications you are currently taking.
  • For the rest of this article pick up the September issue of SHAPE magazine.
Have a great rest of the day! What is everyone making for dinner?

Monday, October 26, 2009


Another weekend is gone, another week has began. This past weekend Danny, my friend Lauren and I took a drive up to Boston. Every year my college friends get together in the fall to visit Salem. It's a tradition we've kept up for 7 years now! We picked the weekend back in July and decided October 24th would be it. It is something we look forward to all year. This year we changed it a little and canned the Salem part and just did the food, drinks and fun part in South Boston.
Saturday morning we left around 11:30. Lauren took the LIRR into Queens and we picked her up for the trip up north. (Danny also has friends from college there so it's great that we can both see our friends separately but drive together....which translates to he drives, we talk and sleep!) Before we left I made sure I packed lots of treats for our trip. I packed carrots, 2 LUNA bars, pumpkin dark chocolate chip cookies (for our hosts), 4 clementines, and we stopped for sandwiches before we left. (Obviously we had coffee and waters too!) It is important to travel with snacks because otherwise on long trips I become desperate for food and there aren't many healthy options on the road!
We had a great time when we finally got there after 5 hours (because we got lost even though we have done this trip at least 3x a year for many years...). All the girls brought something to our friend Jen and Alyssa's amazing apartment. We had a huge salad, tomato and mozzarella, buffalo chicken dip, whole wheat pizzas, stuffed mushrooms, brownies and more. Oh...anddd...can't forget we had Rachael Ray Spiked Punch!
The next morning we left around noon and really didn't have much to eat in the morning besides pumpkin cookies and amazing pumpkin spice muffins (which I HAVE to blog about at some point...). We were desperately hungry but just not feeling Burger King (ew!) so we finally decided that SUBWAY would be a good choice. (We knew Bob and Jillian from Biggest Loser would give it 2 thumbs up!) We found a SUBWAY somewhere in Connecticut and were starving. Lauren and I both got the Veggie D'lite on whole wheat bread with the inside bread taken out. (I got this from Shay on Biggest Loser last week! I never would have thought to do this at SUBWAY.) I had mine with fat free Italian dressing on the side. (oh yeah, and baked Lays.) It was very satisfying and even though the 2 people working behind the counter made faces at us when we asked to take the bread out they still did it.
Bottom line is: I try to always pack snacks in the car, but sometimes it's not possible. Sometimes you just have to make do with what you have and SUBWAY was a good option.
When we got home I had some pumpkin soup and made some bread for warm peanut butter sandwiches. YUM!
Hope you had a great weekend! Happy Monday!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Guest Post: Peanut Butter Lumps!

Happy Friday! Today I have a very, very, special post for you! On many Sundays throughout the year we go to my mom's house to have "Sunday dinner". It is basically something we have done since I was young. We gather at my mom's house to have (at the very minimum) pasta and meatballs. (Of course it usually involves lots of bread, sausage, mozzarella and lots of gluttony.) This past Sunday it was only 5 of us (since my sister, and 2 cousins are away at college) yet we had food to feed probably 10 people. My Uncle Tommy usually does most of the grunt work (he lovesss to bring lots of appes) and my mom will make the sauce and meatballs. This was an extra special Sunday (for no reason at all) because he brought one of our very favorite desserts....PEANUT BUTTER LUMPS. After eating a couple of lumps I told Uncle Tommy he had to guest blog! Even though peanut butter lumps are not a "good choice" we can't always be good 100% of the time! We have to treat ourselves in moderation, so here is your moderation!
Enjoy Uncle Tommy's guest blog - he has lots more to share, so hopefully he will be back!
As Nicole's favorite Uncle I was thrilled when she asked me to guest blog on her page. You all must know me, she talks about me allllllllllllll the time, it's Uncle Tommy!!!!
One of my favorite things to do is to cook and bake for my family and friends. I especially like to try to satisfy everyone by making a variety of either appetizers, side dishes or desserts in an effort to please the challenging taste buds of this crazy family. I should have been a party planner because I so enjoy the whole process of arranging eating frenzies be it a birthday celebration, a wedding, or a typical Sunday dinner!
The recipe that follows is usually saved for special occasions, such as Christmas, and certainly would not be considered a healthy choice. Eaten in moderation, everyone deserves a little treat every once in a while. Hope you enjoy my Peanut Butter Lumps!
2 eggs
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup butter softened
1 cup peanut butter
1 yellow cake mix
12 oz chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix eggs, water, butter and peanut butter with electric or stand mixer. Add 1/2 cake mix and stir well. Add remaining half of cake mix and chocolate chips. Mix well. Scoop into "lumps" on an ungreased cookie sheet for about 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
So there it is! If it weren't for Uncle Tommy, half of my wedding wouldn't have been done! He is chock full of creative talent and that's why we love him!
I could play around to try and make these a little healthy, but then they wouldn't be Uncle Tommy's Peanut Butter Lumps! Enjoy these (in moderation!)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Run it off!

While the weather isn't ridiculously cold I try to run outside 2x a week and then hit the treadmill 1x a week. (I get so spoiled running outside 3x a week all summer!) Last week it didn't happen and I ended up on the treadmill 2x because it was rainy, cold and I was too tired to get up at 5:15 am to run in the cold. (Normally Danny and I have an unwritten rule that we just get up and go and don't complain, but I neg'd the run the night before!)
Anyway, in order to not get bored on the treadmill I try to switch it up every couple weeks.
Lately (depending on my tiredness and effort) I have been liking this workout. I found it on The Fitnessista and really enjoyed it. I change it a bit by walking for 10 minutes at 4.0 (not 3.5) to warm up then running around 5.3 (yes, slowly) for 10 minutes and then I do the workout. (Also I walk at the end at 4.0 to 3.5 for 5 minutes to cool down.) You can just print it out or put it in your blackberry (that's what I did!) and BAM, new exciting treadmill workout. It will keep you working and NOT bored at all (putting ELLEN on the TV helps too!). It's a great interval workout and if you are a beginner you can always modify it to not do the inclines or work at a lower speed! So avoid boredom at the gym and give this a try!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Orange Glazed Tofu

I bought some tofu the other day and I never use all of it at once (partly because Danny won't touch the stuff and one block is too much for me to eat at once). I was looking for a way to cook it all at once and then save it for leftovers for lunch or dinner another night. I found this recipe on and it is delicious. It does include soy, between the tofu and edamame, so you may want to watch your intake of that for the rest of the day/week. (Too much of one thing is never good.) This recipe is a little different of anything I have made before, but the orange juice really added a great flavor! Next time I think i will add some brown rice and maybe even make this with chicken too so Danny could enjoy it with me!


1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice 1 tablespoon canola oil 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped 2 cups frozen shelled edamame
5 scallions thinly sliced Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 14-ounce package light firm tofu, patted dry and cut into 8 slices Cooking spray


Preheat broiler to high. Whisk orange juice in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Mix in red and yellow peppers and cook for about 5 minutes or until tender. Add edamame and then stir in scallions cook for 2 minutes more, add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the orange juice. Toss well and cook for 1 minute more or until scallions are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside.

Place tofu on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Brush tops with the oj. Place in the broiler 12 to 14 inches from heat and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Flip tofu, brush with the remaining miso mixture, and broil for 1 to 2 minutes more. Spoon edamame and pepper mixture on top, and serve.

Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Acai Smoothie

I came across the fruit Acai when I went to San Diego a couple of years ago to see two of my friends from college. They had a place by them that sold coffee, shakes, muffins, etc. One of the things Lyss and Jen raved about was an acai bowl which basically was acai and a bunch of fruit with granola on top, it was fabulous. I came home from Cali and didn't see it offered anywhere until I moved to Queens. Danny and I frequent this little place called RIPE. It is all fresh made foods and smoothies, healthily made. Danny discovered a shake called "THE DETOX", which is made with Acai berries. It is the perfect smoothie!
After going to Whole Foods on a search to find acai, we found it! Not only is is delicious but it is filled with antioxidants, fiber and protein. It has so many antioxidants that it has more than blueberries, cranberries and raspberries! It comes in these little smoothie packs, so one pack is perfect for one smoothie. We came home and had to give it a try. One our second round, it came out as good (if not better) than the Ripe smoothie! Here's how we did it!
Ingredients (This makes enough for 2.)
- 1 smoothie acai pack (Sambazon)
- 1 cup frozen berries (Trader Joe's raspberries, blackberries and blueberries
- 1 banana
- 1/2 cup milk (we use organic 1%)
- 1 lowfat strawberry yogurt
- 1 cup crushed ice
Mix in blender and enjoy! Learn about the benefits of ACAI!
Go to to learn more about their products!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pumpkin Soup!

It's Monday again! How did that happen so fast? I guess the good thing is that the month is flying and it's almost Halloween. I just love being a teacher around Halloween because the kids LOVE anything that revolves around it (ANDDD so do i!) Stickers, fake fangs, spider rings, skulls, candy, pretty pumpkin garland that hangs around my classroom door, etc. You can imagine who (ME) spent quite a bit of money at Target buying all these items. It just makes me so excited to give out all of these things, I don't really know why, but it just does.
Anyway, I digress, my point was, going along with fall and Halloween I love anything pumpkin. Last Friday I made my fourth batch of pumpkin dark chocolate chip muffins (and no we haven't shared with anyone...yes we have eaten them all) and I will be making more this weekend to finally share with people. So to continue my pumpkin theme I found this pumpkin soup.
This goes perfectly with the wet, damp, frigid weather we have been having. This recipe is from
  • 1 pound canned pumpkin (13-ounce can)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped and minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 3 cups raw kale
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen corn
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Cooking instructions:
  • Pour the olive oil into a large saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic until tender.
  • Add the chicken or vegetable stock, potatoes, kale, carrots, celery, pepper, and corn. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  • Stir in the pumpkin, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook 5-10 minutes longer.
This soup is filled with beta carotene and many other good for you vitamins. Eating these vege filled foods can build up your immunity and protect you from flu season (especially if your job involves working with lots of kids!) It will keep you warm inside and out!
* Side note - I have to amend my blog on Friday to especially include my sister - she is one of the top ten things that make me happy (she was feelings neglected!) I wouldn't laugh nearly as much if it wasn't for her!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Something to think about...

It was only a four day week, but it felt long! I have had a long couple of days with some of my students. Without saying too much, they just require a ton of energy, love, care, attention and support because some of them just don't get it at home. It isn't always easy to give all of those things, but teachers have to try just to keep a smile on even when they want to scream! So instead of writing about health, nutrition or exercise I decided to end the week with a question. What are your top ten things that make you happy???
It was hard to just stick with ten, but i tried. Here they are in no particular order:
1. Sunday dinner with my family. Pasta, meatballs and bread included.
2. Driving in my car with the sunroof open and my IPOD connected (playing Dave Matthews Band, Coldplay, Jason Mraz, Taylor Swift, anything like that LOUD).
3. Going for a run with Danny on a beautiful (FALL) day.
4. My couch/ the TODAY show/ The Biggest Loser/How I Met Your Mother/Mad Men
5. Spending time with friends (having coffee, dinner, drinks, beach, etc)
6. Not having anything to wake up for on a Saturday/Sunday morning.
7. Shopping
8. Coffee!
9. Baking and cooking (with no time constraints)
10. Traveling (to far away/close places by car/train/plane, ANYTHING!)
So there are my top ten. It really includes more like 20, but what are yours? It is SUPER important to remember what makes YOU happy and then DO IT. Do AT LEAST one thing a day and it will keep you in check, living a happy, healthy life! Doing what makes you happy is just as important as eating well and exercising. So go out and do one of your TOP TEN things! Let me know what it is! Have a great weekend! I'll be heading to Jones Beach for the Breast Cancer walk (hope it doesn't rain!)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hooray for Hummus!

Yahoo, it's THURSDAY already!! After going for a massive food shopping trip this weekend I rediscovered one of my favorite things to snack on, HUMMUS! Danny and I will often get this healthy snack as an appetizer when we go to one of our many favorite restaurants and it never disappoints. I hesitate to buy it when I am in a regular food store because while it is pretty good, it’s not great. I am a huge fan of hummus from Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Iavvarone Brothers. While I don’t get to these stores as often as I’d like, I definitely scoop up the hummus when I do get there.

Why hummus (besides its smooth, yummy taste)? It is low in fat, filled with fiber and for that reason will keep you feeling satisfied for longer! Pair it with some cut up veges and some toasted whole wheat pita, DELISH! Here is a recipe for hummus below!


  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • two 1-pound 3-ounce cans chick-peas, drained and rinsed
  • 2/3 cup well stirred tahini
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted lightly

On a cutting board mince and mash the garlic to a paste with the salt. In a food processor purée the chick-peas with the garlic paste, the tahini, the lemon juice, 1/4 cup of the oil, and 1/2 cup water, scraping down the sides, until the hummus is smooth and add salt to taste. Add water, if necessary, to thin the hummus to the desired consistency and transfer the hummus to a bowl. In the food processor, cleaned, purée the remaining 1/4 cup oil with the parsley until the oil is bright green and the parsley is minced transfer the parsley oil to a small jar. The hummus and the parsley oil may be made 3 days in advance and kept covered and chilled. Divide the hummus between shallow serving dishes and smooth the tops. Drizzle the hummus with the parsley and oil and sprinkle it with the pine nuts. Serve the hummus with whole wheat pita. Recipe from

If you LOVE edamame (like I do) you must give this recipe a try!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pesto Chicken

Sometimes after a long day at work I procrastinate in the locker room at the gym. I do this by reading the advertisements, which usually are useless. Turns out, to my surprise, they finally decided to put a good one up! It was an ad for Diet Coke and at the bottom they had a recipe for Pesto Chicken with Tomato Relish. (They even had index cards with the recipe on it so obviously, I took one!) Over the weekend while at my grandmas house I went into her backyard and took a bunch of fresh parsley and basil, so this recipe was meant to be there for me to help me use it up.

Pesto Chicken


  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled (if you only have chopped garlic this works too)
  • 2 cups basil
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 5 tsp. pine nuts, toasted
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ¼ lbs. of chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
  • Butchers twine or toothpicks
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Tomato Relish


  • 4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped (I just used a can of diced tomatoes)
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground pepper


  1. Combine tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl. Cover and chill in fridge.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
  3. Combine garlic, basil, lemon juice and zest, pine nuts, Parmesan, salt, and a pinch of pepper in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Slowly stream in the olive oil until a thick paste forms. (You really can just do this by hand if you don’t have a processor!)
  4. Place the chicken breasts between wax paper. Use a mallet to pound till ¼ inch thick. Throw out the top sheet of wax paper. Spread chicken with about 2 tsp. of pesto. Starting with the narrower end, roll up each breast and throw out the paper.
  5. Tie with twine or use toothpicks to stop it from unrolling. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Heat vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over med-high heat. Saute the chicken until golden brown on all sides about 8-10 minutes. Place chicken in oven and roast until cooked through, 10-15 minutes.
  7. Remove chicken from oven and let stand 5 minutes. Remove the string or toothpicks. Slice on the bias into four pieces. Arrange slices on plates. Garnish with some of the tomato relish.

*So I didn’t do this exactly because I didn’t have twine and toothpicks never hold well enough for me. I just butterflied the chicken breasts and stuffed them with the pesto. Then I cooked it on the stove top in a little bit of low sodium chicken broth. (I also snuck in about a ¼ cup chopped spinach in the pesto, shh don’t tell!) I did make the tomato relish but I heated it on the stove with 1 clove of garlic. It was super easy and SO SO good! Thanks NYSC and Diet Coke!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cut some calories...the easy way!

Everyone is looking to cut a couple of calories here and there right? So what if you could do it and not even really notice? While looking around I found these tips and thought that I would share them. They are quick and easy and will save you some serious calories (100+).

  1. Add the olive oil last – Try steaming your veges first and then drizzling olive oil over them after they are finished cooking. Some vegetables, especially eggplant, soak up all of the oil and you will have to continually add more. *Also another good tip is cooking your veges in low sodium chicken broth, it adds very few calories, but adds flavor.
  2. Lighten up your juice – When you want to have a glass of juice, be careful because of all the calories and sugar. Try using equal parts juice and sparkling water, which will lower your calorie AND sugar count.
  3. Making “skinny” mash potatoes – Use a half cup low sodium chicken broth for every 3 pounds of potatoes instead of butter or cream. If you still want that butter flavor put a small amount on top.
  4. Trade in your wine glass – Try using a champagne flute for your glass of wine. You are forced to have a portion controlled glass of wine (about 5 onces) rather than 8 or 9 ounces.
  5. Downsize your baked goods – I LOVE muffins – but instead of making 6 HUGE muffins, use the 12 slotted muffin pan. Also you can swap ½ cup of oil for ½ cup applesauce. It will still have the moist consistency and save you major calories.
  6. Get sandwich savy – that tuna sandwich may be setting you back 700 calories. Try whole wheat bread with turkey and just a touch of mayo (or even better MUSTARD). Skip the soda and try some baked chips.
  7. Take your own popcorn to the movies – A medium container (without the butter) at the movies will set you back about 900 calories. Take your favorite 100 calorie pack popcorn and you will be more than satisfied. You will save 800 calories and a couple of bucks!

My favorites out of these tips are number 1,5, and 7!

Try these tips and your jeans just may be a bit looser at the end of the week! (great pic at the top right??)

Check out the full article right here!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cancer fighting Superfoods!

Happy Columbus Day! I love this day because I don't have to go to work and I can sleep in and watch the TODAY show with 2 cups of coffee! Since it's supposed to be a beautiful day I am heading into the city to do some walking around with my friends from high school, who are teachers (which happen to be 3 + 1 more coming). I am really looking forward to a day with little plans where I can relax and enjoy walking around Manhattan.
Anyways...did anyone read the new SHAPE magazine yet? It basically was a double issue. The back (or the front, whichever way you look at it!) was all about prevention and breast cancer awareness. They did a great job of including a plethora of information about breast cancer and what we can do to be pro-active in our own lives. We all know this already, but diet and exercise is something we can do to prevent cancer and illness.
Here are six fruits and vegetables that not only will help you get in your required servings a day, but they are loaded with protection against cancer and disease.
Artichokes - filled with antioxidants - rich in flavonoids which slow the growth of breast and other types of cancer cells.
Way to Cook Artichokes: Boil them for 30 minutes, drain. Remove from pot. Add 2 chopped carrots and celery, 1 chopped onion, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tbsp olive oil. Add 1 cup red wine, a 28 ounce can of chopped tomatoes and 4 cloves of minced garlic. Place artichoke back in tomato mixture and spoon it over them. Cover and simmer for about 35 minutes, until artichokes are tender. Enjoy!
Pomegranates - Also high in antioxidants, polyphenols and vitamin C. Pomegranates may halt the spread and recurrance of disease.
Tip: If you don't want to do the work of getting the seeds out of a pomegranates, you can go to Whole Foods and buy just the seeds!
Bok Choy - A type of Chinese cabbage packed with sulfur compounds which help your body convert estrogen in your body into a weaker form, which protects your breasts.
Tip: Add bok choy to soup or a stir fry!
Tomatoes- Filled with lycopene it helps cells band together and kill a "sick" cell that could become cancerous.
(I LOVE tomatoes - what a great reason to make a HUGE pot of tomatoes sauce and make pizza, or pasta, or chicken parm....)
Swiss Chard - Filled with antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene, lutein - which fight cell damage and strengthen your immune system. Add it to pasta dishes, stir fries and soups.
Purple Grapes - Resveratrol, found in red and purple grapes, can help lower your breast cancer risk because it blocks the effects of stronger estrogen your body makes. It also boosts your immunity.
Get to the food store now to pick up some of these disease fighting foods! You can make an entire meal out of these foods - appetizer: steamed artichoke recipe; Main course: Chicken (or any type of meat) with a bok choy, swiss chard stir fry; Dessert: Grapes and pomegranates!
I've picked up my pomegranates and bok choy for this week. Now I have to find a great recipe for the bok choy; I'm thinking a soup. Enjoy (especially if you have the day off like me)!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

New Baby!

Last night we got back from Havertown, PA to see our new baby nephew. He is the 6th grandchild in the family and he is too cute! He was very busy most of the day and half we were there, eating and sleeping. He was such a good baby, I don't even think I heard him cry! We had to bring some NY bagels (along with our cookies) because they obviously don't have any note worthy bagel shops outside of New York!
While we were there we tried thai food. It was great! I was a little weary of the sauces, so I just tried the pad thai (and it was delicious!!). Danny liked it, which is great because he's normally a bit reluctant to try new things (if I don't make them :) ). I also had the summer rolls which were steamed shrimp and lettuce in rice paper. They were pretty good, especially with the dipping sauce. Hungry Girl does a healthy pad thai recipe that I like, maybe I'll make it this week!
We had a great time! Okay, off to coffee and a pumpkin chocolate chip muffin! Enjoy your Sunday!


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