Chocolate Banana Smoothie

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I had a patient yesterday that was absolutely hilarious. Somehow, he wandered onto the topic of what Mr. Prevention likes to eat. People are often curious, I think, as to whether or not I have a lot of say over what Mr. P eats and/or if he eats junk.

The short answer to those questions is that he eats whatever he wants and yes, he eats plenty of junk.

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If you open my pantry you will find: plenty of fun-size candy bars, spicy tortilla chips, Twizzlers, spiced nuts and a few other sodium-packed snacks, cereals such as Lucky Charms and Frosted Flakes (both which so happen to be some of my guilty pleasures), in addition to some highly processed skillet dinners that come in boxes. I’m sure there’s more, but you get the idea. The man brings plenty of junk into the house and he most definitely consumes it. Regularly. Daily.

Obviously, I love to cook and do so most nights. Lucky for me, Mr. Prevention will eat just about anything I put in front of him…and like it. At least to some extent. He did flat-out refuse the cold avocado soup I once whipped up, but if I’m being honest, that rejection was warranted. Big, big ew.

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So while my husband consumes my home-cooked meals, the truth is he’d be happier with a frozen pizza more nights than not (followed up with about 71 scoops of ice cream). The man could easily live off pizza alone. I never knew I’d have Tombstone to compete with, but in fact, it’s my stiffest competition. What can I say?

Sometimes, though, I get pleasantly surprised. I threw this smoothie in front of hubby not knowing what he’d think. He normally rejects anything made with non-dairy milks, but much to my pleasant surprise, he loved this smoothie. I made it again just to be sure and yep…he sucked it right down again. Must be good…and it’s definitely good for you ;)

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Chocolate Banana Smoothie
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Mildly sweet with a richness from the chocolate. I love that this is naturally sweetened with no guilt!
Ingredients
  • 2 bananas (frozen)
  • 1½ cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 Tbsp dark chocolate
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ recipe Calories: 208 Fat: 7.0 Carbohydrates: 38.2 Sugar: 14.5 Sodium: 137 Fiber: 4.5 Protein: 3.0 Cholesterol: 0

 I can almost taste Friday :-D

Be well,

sig4

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

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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 ;)

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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.

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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!

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Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
This gluten-free, vegan chili is beyond healthy and full of flavor!
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.
Notes
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

 STAY WARM! DRIVE SAFE!

Be well,

sig4

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Almonds

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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…

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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.

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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 ;)

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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.
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.
Notes
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,

sig4

Buffalo Ranch Panko Baked Chicken Fingers

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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.”

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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.

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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!

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Buffalo Ranch Panko Baked Chicken Fingers
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.
Notes
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,

sig4

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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5.0 from 1 reviews
3 Bean Sweet Potato Chili
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.
Notes
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,

sig4