4th Annual Chili Contest: Entry #10 – Vegetarian Black Bean Chili


This is it. The 10th and final chili recipe of my 4th Annual Chili Contest! And yes, I still love chili. This year’s contest was a huge success and I’m not looking forward to having to choose just one best chili.

I had intended for the chili contest to end along with the Illini football season but seeing as the post-season was a no-go for our oh-so-pathetic football team, the contest wrapped up in the start of college basketball season. Which, by the way, is going much more smoothly for my beloved Illini. The basketball games are bit more enjoyable to watch when winning is actually a possibility ;)


With temps of -12 degrees and the measuring of snow in FEET rather than inches…it’s chili kind of weather out there (in many parts of the US, anyways). Schools are already closed for tomorrow and if a plow doesn’t come down my street in the next hour or so, I may have major difficulties getting to work this morning. Spring, please come early. Pleeeeeeeease.

Not only is it chili weather, but with so many people focused on health and wellness, this chili really couldn’t get any healthier.


Packed with fiber and low in fat, this chili is also vegan and gluten-free. Dried beans take a bit of forethought, but the results cannot be replicated with canned goods. With a bit more texture than canned beans, dried beans are also incredibly low cost.

Don’t be put off by the 2 hour simmering time of the black beans. This chili reheats beautifully for a quick weeknight meal that would pair perfectly with a salad or a crusty piece of sourdough bread. Yum!


Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
This gluten-free, vegan chili is beyond healthy and full of flavor!
  • 1 lb uncooked dried black beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (15 oz) no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2-3 fresh jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  1. Soak beans in 2-3 quarts of water overnight (at least 8-10 hours) at room temperature. Drain soaking liquid and transfer beans to a large pot. Add 6 cups water and bay leaf, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours, partially covered.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions are tender. Add tomatoes with juice to skillet. Add jalapenos, chili powder, salt, paprika, oregano, cocoa powder, cumin and cinnamon. Simmer 15 minutes. Add tomato mixture to the beans. Stir in vinegar. Continue simmering another 30 minutes or until beans are very tender and chili has thickened slightly. Discard bay leaf.
Recipe submitted by Judy P-H.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1⅓ cups Calories: 206 Fat: 2.7 Carbohydrates: 40.5 Sugar: 5.7 Sodium: 596 Fiber: 9.8 Protein: 10.5 Cholesterol: 0


Be well,


Slow Cooker Cinnamon Almonds


I had every intention of working out yesterday morning. I had my workout clothes set out and everything. I knew I wouldn’t get to the gym for a few reasons: overnight snow, injury (my weight lifting class is off-limits for a few more days), and I could sleep later if I worked out at home. However, Mr. Prevention texted to let me know the roads were “really bad” and suggested I allow plenty of time to get to work. Seeing as I had to go to a satellite clinic 45 miles from home, I skipped the workout all together and continued with my morning routine of coffee, hair & make-up, and trying on way too many outfits all while listening to my favorite Chicago radio station’s morning show on I Heart Radio.

I should’ve gotten up earlier and just done the gym. Even if it was ZERO degrees out at 5:30am…


See, it’s REALLY cold in Michigan (shocking, I know). And even us snow bears only have so much winter gear. I actually just recently purchased my first REAL winter coat. You know, a lined puffy one that comes to just above my knees offering up some serious warmth. It was originally $200 at Kohls but with a 50% off sale, a 20% coupon, and Kohls Cash, the price tag dropped dramatically…which made me love the coat all the more. It goes without saying that I don’t want to wear it to the gym only to put a sweaty, stinky body inside of it to head home. Ick.

I also purchased my first pair of REAL winter boots this winter (how cute are these?). After the whole 3-inch heels in the snow fiasco, I knew a repeat of that would just leave me hateful, mean, and potentially, with frostbitten toes.


On my drive into work yesterday (it wasn’t as bad as Mr. Prevention had predicted), I was talking to my mom. I described the 200+ buckeyes I had made Monday night (and how doing so in my new, cute, winter boots flared up my plantar faciitis) and my mother promptly instructed me “not to bring any of that crap here.” HAPPY HOLIDAYS, MOM! I called her a Grinch.

Yes, we’re all conscious of our waistlines, especially this time of year when we can very easily find our closet fresh out of one-upped sizes we can actually fit in clothes post-holiday season. We discussed moderation and sharing. At my house, goodies are kept on the back porch where it is pure Michigan COLD and that new winter coat and boots are necessary…it’s definitely a deterrent from over-indulging.

It should probably go without saying that these amazing Crock Pot Cinnamon Almonds are on the back porch until Christmas ;)


Slow Cooker Cinnamon Almonds
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
Incredibly simple to make, these almonds scream "Happy Holidays!" and yet...they're perfect for any day of the year. These will definitely out-do anything you'll pick-up at the mall or a baseball game...promise! Plus, the recipe doubles beautifully! However, when I make these next time I'll decrease the sugar even further to ¾ cup of each.
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups almonds
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3-4 Tbsp water
  1. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and vanilla extract until foamy. Stir in almonds and mix to coat well; transfer to a slow cooker.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt; mix well. Pour the sugar mixture over the almonds and stir to coat well.
  3. Cook the almonds 3-4 hours on low, stirring every hour. During the last 30 minutes of cooking, add the water; mix well and cook an additional 30 minutes.
  4. Spread almonds out on parchment paper and allow to cool for 1-2 hours. Store in an air-tight container.
Recipe adapted from The Recipe Critic
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ¼ cup Calories: 222 Fat: 11.3 Carbohydrates: 30.4 Sugar: 24.8 Sodium: 40 Fiber: 3.8 Protein: 4.8 Cholesterol: 0

 Busy day ahead and hockey tonight…in this cold, snowy weather. :)

Be well,


Buffalo Ranch Panko Baked Chicken Fingers


I came home from the grocery store on Sunday and Mr. Prevention watched me as I unloaded everything and put it in its proper place in the fridge, freezer, and pantry.

“What’s all that meat for?” he asked. “I’m out of town through Wednesday, remember?”

“Yeah, I know” I said. “I had a lot of recipes I wanted to make this week. I’ll take leftovers to work or freeze them.”


He hasn’t learned.

When he’s away…it may be when I enjoy cooking most. I can be something I enjoy – like Greek Stuffed Peppers and wild rice dishes with butternut squash. If I served him these meals, I’d catch a lot of heat, no doubt.

It just so happened that the recipes on my must-make list that Mr. P would turn his nose up to…included meat or seafood.

Lamb. Mussels. Mmmmm.


The last meal that wow-ed the husband is easy to recall, however. It was served last week. And he…was…in…heaven.

Buffalo + chicken = money. He’s not difficult to figure out…

I did appreciate that this recipe was incredibly simple and quick. I loved the spiciness of the chicken tenders after marinading in the buffalo sauce all day while we were at work. This meal does not lack flavor and the nutrition stats get a thumbs up!


5.0 from 1 reviews
Buffalo Ranch Panko Baked Chicken Fingers
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1¼ lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • ½ cup buffalo sauce
  • 1½ cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ Tbsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp dried chives
  • ¼ tsp salt
  1. Cut the chicken breast into 1-inch strips (about 12). Add the chicken strips and buffalo sauce to a ziplock bag or bowl with a tight-fitting lid, toss to coat, and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Arrange a wire rack on top of a baking sheet and mist with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  3. In a shallow dish combine the Panko breadcrumbs with remaining ingredients.
  4. Remove chicken strips one at a time from the buffalo sauce, allowing excess sauce to drip off. Dip each piece into the breadcrumbs and place on the wire rack. Repeat with remaining chicken strips.
  5. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until cooked through.
Recipe from Slender Kitchen
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 3 chicken fingers Calories: 217 Fat: 1.5 Carbohydrates: 13.5 Sugar: 1.5 Sodium: 679 Fiber: 0 Protein: 34.8 Cholesterol: 69

 Half way through the week! Only 2 days until my first book signing! :-D Can’t wait!

Be well,


4th Annual Chili Contest: Entry #6 – 3 Bean Sweet Potato Chili + Weekly Menu


I’m slowly transitioning back into reality. I’ve been MIA the past few days because we took a short vacation back to Cabo San Lucas. Same resort, same wonderful experience. Except this time, I wore sunscreen and I’m not coming back a bright red, painful mess. I learned my lesson once — the hard way, the very hard way. Michigan sun is not the same as the Mexican sun. I mean it is, but not really…you know what I mean.

Mr. Prevention snapped me back to reality as we were heading to the airport to head home when he said, “Yep, we’re leaving 85 and sunny for 5 months of frigid cold and snow.” I must remember to remind myself that Michigan summers are worth enduring the winters for.


I’m trying to think of the best thing I ate this week, but it’s tough. There’s nothing that passed my lips this week that I didn’t like. Herein lies a problem – I’m such a foodie. I do think that fish tacos, banana ice cream, and real quesadillas and refried beans top the list, however.

But honestly, there’s nothing better than a strawberry margarita, a great book, a stunning view, and the sun warming you from the inside out. It’s probably not surprising to share that I blew the resort a kiss from our oceanview room as I stood oh-so-sad reminiscing over the short stay before heading to the lobby to checkout. I had a moment.


I did workout — 2 of the 3 days we were vacationing and not traveling. I’ll call that a victory.

It never fails, though. As good as vacation is — and as glorious as it is to just enjoy the finer things of life…in slight excess for a few days — I’m always anxious to return to healthy cooking. And my bed. And Lily. Of course, Lily.

Whether you’re reintroducing lots of veggies and fiber into your diet after a vacation like me, or you’re looking for a super healthy, vegan chili recipe…this one is for you. It tops the charts when it comes to good-for-you food. Just what I need!


5.0 from 1 reviews
3 Bean Sweet Potato Chili
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • ¾ Tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 cups low-sodium veggie stock
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28 oz) can no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  1. Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute 2-3 minutes or until softened slightly. Add potatoes and cook an additional 6-8 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika; saute an additional 30 seconds. Add the veggie stock and all the beans and tomatoes; cook 5-10 minutes. Add corn, pepper, and salt, and cook an additional 20-30 minutes.
Recipe from and submitted by My Whole Food Life
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1½ cups Calories: 218 Fat: 2.4 Carbohydrates: 42.1 Sugar: 9.2 Sodium: 312 Fiber: 11.2 Protein: 10.1 Cholesterol: 0

 Weekly Menu: November 10th – 14th

Back to reality. :(

Be well,


Gluten-Free Apple Crisp


Growing up, my family’s idea of a “vacation” was going to the race track in Wisconsin to watch my dad race his vintage Corvette. Looking back, the 100 degree days on black asphalt, gasoline fumes, burnt bratwursts, and far-from-sanitary bathroom situation was a far cry from a vacation in the traditional sense, but looking back on those many family trips…memories were made.

And if need be, I can probably change a tire and wench a car onto a flatbed trailer. I learned a few things along the way…including how embarrassing it can be to show up as the family with their matching “racing crew” tee-shirts. Embarrassing then – fond memories today. Funny how things often work out that way.


Since growing up and leaving home, my parents now partake in real vacations. As in, they go to a far-away location, eat at nice restaurants, sleep in hotels (versus 1-star motels), and come back with a killer tan. They go to their timeshare in Mexico…for 2 weeks. Every year. #jealous

Needless to say, they’ve moved up in the world after unloading children. Good for them, right? (Bad for me when I’m the worry wart sitting at home, wondering if they made it there safe and sound and they fail to communicate so for the better part of a week…)

They always go to Mexico during Halloween, which apparently, is QUITE the event in Puerto Vallarta. People go all out with their costumes and from the stories I’ve heard and pictures I’ve seen, it’s more of a “festival-like” event than the Halloween I know. It’s certainly more than kids going door-to-door begging for candy, anyways.


Personally? I enjoy being around for holidays — even holidays that aren’t my favorite, like Halloween.

Other than Lily’s tutu adorning her never-shrinking waistline, Halloween to me is just another fall day. I love fall. A day to appreciate the colorful leaves that are quickly making their way to the ground. A day to look forward to college football…and basketball. Another day where I can find any and every excuse to weave pumpkin into my diet. And apples. Apples, too.

I don’t know about you, but after apple picking and my CSA deliveries, my fridge is chock full of apples…which I have no complaints over finding many ways to enjoy. :)


Gluten-Free Apple Crisp
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 7
  • 6 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp tapioca starch, arrowroot powder, or cornstarch
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup coconut oil (solidified)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Place apples in a 2 quart baking dish and sprinkle with sugar, tapioca starch, lemon juice, and cinnamon; toss well.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, almond flour, and brown sugar; whisk to combine. Drop the coconut oil by teaspoons over the oat mixture and using your fingers, blend the coconut oil into the oats until the consistency becomes pebble-like in consistency. Top the apples evenly with the oat mixture.
  4. Bake the crisp for 30-35 minutes or until apples are soft and the top of the oats are lightly browned. Cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 243 Fat: 11.4 Carbohydrates: 34.4 Sugar: 23.0 Sodium: 2 Fiber: 3.9 Protein: 2.6 Cholesterol: 0

 Early meeting…off I go!

P.S. Did you see on Facebook? I’m done with my gluten-free cookbook! :-D

Be well,