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

4th Annual Chili Contest: Entry #8 – Crock Pot Turkey Chili

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My aunt-in-law (is that a thing??) sends out daily updates about her grandkids (my second cousin-in-laws??) who she babysits daily. The emails always include photos and usually some type of cute story or update about their time at Kindermusic, swim lessons, school, or any number of activities. Some of the stories are laugh out loud hilarious.

One of my recent favorites has to do with her eldest (and only..) grandson. He was enjoying an ice cream sandwich at school, but wanted to save some for later. He wrapped it up and put it in his lunch box. When he returned home that afternoon, he wanted to resume eating his ice cream sandwich and was completely heart-broken to find out it had melted all over in the hours that had passed. I mean, he had a cold pack in his lunch box – how dare that ice cream sandwich melt! Too darn cute.

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One of my aunt-in-law’s recent kiddo updates included their trip to Barnes and Noble for Story Time. The reading took place in the kids books section of the store which was right across from the cookbook section. Donna (aunt-in-law) said that as she sat down to settle in for story time with the kids and she looked up to see TEN (!!) of my cookbooks “staring her in the face”!

I not only made it into her daily email update about the kids, but the Bloomington, Illinois’ Barnes and Noble is a Prevention RD fan. Thanks, B&N in Bloomington! How cool!

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In my cookbook (P.S. it makes a great Christmas present!!), is one of my favorite chili recipes from a long-time reader turned friend, Stacey. She graciously allowed her recipe to be shared with all in the cookbook and as a huge fan of her taste buds, we should all be thankful for Stacey and her amazing chili making. In fact, this Crock Pot Turkey Chili reminds me of her Turkey and Black Bean Chili that’s in the cookbook. It’s delicious. And, it’s easy peasy.

Another great recipe makes this year’s judging no easy task. But, hey, that’s a good thing!

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Crock Pot Turkey Chili
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
An easy, but excellent, traditional chili. There's no messing this one up and I love the long cook time in the crock pot!
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground turkey breast
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (28 oz) can no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (4 oz) can mild green chiles
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the turkey and break up the meat using the back of a wooden spoon. After 2-3 minutes, add the onion and cook until softened and meat is no longer pink; transfer to crockpot.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to the crock pot and mix well. Cook on low 6-10 hours.
Notes
Recipe submitted by and from The Bakers
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1½ cups Calories: 350 Fat: 4.0 Carbohydrates: 49.2 Sugar: 8.5 Sodium: 552 Fiber: 15.5 Protein: 33.3 Cholesterol: 47

 Busy day ahead, but nothing like tomorrow or Thursday will be. Weekend? Weekend? I don’t help my cause when I make 250 buckeyes on a Monday night…in addition to dinner!

 Be well,

sig4

Balsamic Pot Roast in the Crock Pot

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I’ve declared this month NO DONUT DECEMBER — even baked donuts! Leading up to the holidays, junk food, sweets, treats, parties, and get-togethers galore swamp people’s schedules. And with my recent IT band *issue*, I know I can’t undo too much damage by way of exercise. At least for now. :(

Saturday night is my work holiday party. Next Wednesday I planned a happy hour for my staff. Next Thursday is the hospital CEO’s shin-dig at her home. And…that’s just the next 7 days. As much as I love being social, it can often come with some struggles when it comes to calories and over-indulging.

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It’s therefore a wee ironic that no one wants to talk about healthy recipes this time of year. The blog…it’s like a ghost town. No traffic, few comments, no emails. But, I won’t give up hope. Healthy dinners are never out the window in my kitchen and I know I’m not alone. At least I think I’m not alone ;) Waiting until the new year to eat healthy is not a good plan (most of us have been there…most of us don’t learn). The next few weeks could surely set back your weight loss or health goals by weeks, and possibly even months. #notworthit

It’s tough, I know. I mean, I have a Pinterest board with Christmas Baking List pinned and planned. I have about 20 holiday tins that will, undoubtedly, all be filled with goodies…to share. And sample, too, of course. I mean, who doesn’t love holiday sweets? It’s one of the things I love most about this time of year (and consequently, you will be seeing some sugar around here in the coming weeks!).

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I think what people love about the holidays and the goodies is how comforting it all can be. There’s something about gingerbread and garland that makes you feel like you’re receiving a big warm hug all December long. I mean…that’s special.

Luckily, comfort comes from a lot of places.

By way of food, roasts and the crock pot come to mind. I ran across this recipe and as a lover of all things containing balsamic vinegar, I knew I had to try it. I swapped out the traditional (and ohhhh so yummy, but high in fat) chuck roast for a round roast which is much, much leaner – less than 10% fat. With a low and slow cooking time, this comfort food is very kind to the waistline…a very important thing, especially this time of year when temptation lurks around every corner.

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Balsamic Pot Roast in the Crock Pot
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs lean, boneless beef roast (round, sirloin, etc.)
  • Garlic powder, to taste
  • ½ tsp salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 lb baby carrots
  • 2 medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 fresh sage leaves or a sprinkle of dry rubbed sage
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 (15 oz) can low-sodium beef broth
Instructions
  1. Sprinkle beef with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. In a large skillet over high heat, heat the olive oil until rippling and hot. Add the beef and sear on both sides until well-browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer roast to the crock pot.
  2. On top of the beef, add the sliced onion, carrots, and potatoes. Add remaining ingredients and turn the crock pot to low. Cook roast for 8-10 hours.
  3. Remove roast and "shred" the meat using 2 forks into large pieces; return to crock pot to keep hot and moist. Serve with vegetables.
Notes
Recipe slightly adapted from Little B Cooks
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 6 oz meat with vegetables Calories: 370 Fat: 10.9 Carbohydrates: 17.3 Sugar: 6.0 Sodium: 509 Fiber: 2.5 Protein: 41.4 Cholesterol: 105

 I play with my new hockey team tonight — outdoors! :-D Glad it’s not going to be too, too cold. Ease my lungs into huffing and puffing in the Michigan chill!

Be well,

sig4

Crock Pot Meyer Lemon Chicken + Weekly Menu

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My mom BEGGED me to go to step class yesterday with her. Friday night, however, I informed her that “I am on ‘vacation’ and I’d be happy to go with…if I happened to be awake. However, I’m not setting my alarm to get up for a morning workout. Sorry.”

She pouted a moment. I held strong.

Of course Lily had me up at 7am so making it to an 8am step class was no issue. Minus the whole getting up early thing…when on ‘vacation’.

Let’s not let my mom know I actually enjoy the class, mmmkay? I don’t need her having too many expectations for my (“infrequent”) visits home.

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We got home from the gym and polished off the remainder of coffee she had brewed.

She had breakfast all planned out — my Whole Wheat Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Chocolate Frosting. (Let’s also pause to make note that as soon as she stopped whining about having to hunt around the baking aisle for whole wheat pastry flour, she was able to locate it…without issue). Anyways, she did the baking and I did the frosting and sprinkles. They turned out rather cute…cuter than mine, I must admit.

It was totally the sprinkles.

“Take pictures, Nik…I wanna be on the bloooogggggg. Take pictures, Nik!!” she pleaded.

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I guess next time I’m home, I’ll be bringing along my camera as to capture her culinary masterpieces a little better than my phone and Instagram. Regardless, she makes it onto the blog in some capacity…often. If begging for her donuts to make an appearance wasn’t story enough for Ma Prevention, get this one.

I’m sitting in bed last night editing photos. She comes in and asks, “Did we have green beans for dinner?” Mind you, we definitely did have green beans for dinner. She told me they were called “fancy green beans”, and furthermore, the recipe was made solely by her and contained bacon, cashews, and onion. They were heavenly and very unforgettable…and yet, she forgot them. Or swears they never made it onto her plate. Worse yet, my father is claiming the same. No wonder there were so many leftover green beans. #facepalm

I think Mama Prevention needs to stick with simple. You know, like this recipe which I ever so coincidentally happened to serve with green beans ;)

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Crock Pot Meyer Lemon Chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 6 small potatoes (about 1½ pounds), quartered
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 24 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4)
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 Meyer lemon, cut into ¼ inch-thick slices and seeded
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup dry white wine (such as Pinot Grigio)
  • ¼ cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch
  • ½ tsp thyme leaves, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. Place the potatoes, onion, and garlic in the bottom of the crock pot. Next, layer the chicken breasts beside one another in a single layer (if possible); sprinkle with salt and pepper. Distribute the lemon slices evenly over the chicken breasts.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the broth, wine, lemon juice, corn starch and thyme; whisk well. Pour the broth mixture over the chicken.
  3. Cover crock pot and cook on low for 7-8 hours. Serve sprinkled with parsley and serve hot.
Notes
Adapted from So Tasty, So Yummy which was adapted from Cooking Light and my version of Meyer Lemon Chicken
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 chicken breast with 6 ounces potato Calories: 400 Fat: 1.8 Carbohydrates: 46.0 Sugar: 2.5 Sodium: 370 Fiber: 4.3 Protein: 42.8 Cholesterol: 83

Weekly Menu: December 1st – 5th

Heading back to Michigan soon. There’s not only a full work week ahead, but OUTDOOR hockey season officially kicks off! Brrr!! :-D

Be well,

sig4

Recipe Repeat & Meatless Monday: Vegan Crock Pot Refried Beans

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We went out for create-your-own stir fry followed by a create-your-own yogurt creation on Saturday night with our friend and her 4-year-old. Other than coloring Care Bears with her, it was fun to see her create her masterpieces to eat.

Before we got up from the table to create our stir fry, she was encouraged by her mom, “Let’s make healthy choices, okay!”

She returned with nothing green in her bowl and nothing in sight other than meat, noodles, rice, and the roti bread the serve the stir fry with. She was in carb with a little red meat heaven — her favorite.

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As we were getting up to leave dinner and head down the street to the yogurt shop, I offered a piece of broccoli from my dinner so she could earn her yogurt dessert. She ran the broccoli through her teeth, removing hardly any of the “leaves” and allowing most of the broccoli floret to crumble onto the table beneath. It was cute.

She claimed the broccoli was spicy. After Mr. Prevention reheated the leftovers yesterday…that may very well have been true (to a 4-year-old), though I certainly didn’t think so at the time. Hearsay, children and dogs are more sensitive to both temperature and heat.

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The same would hold true for adapting a recipe like this one. I used 2 jalapenos – seeds and all. And while I don’t think I like things overly spicy, my cooking class attendees would say otherwise. So, adapt this one to suit your heat preferences.

Outside of the jalapenos, this recipe is a complete no-brainer. And that is not a typo…these beans cook on HIGH for 10 hours. This is the kind of recipe the working woman loves to see. Ten hours on high is the perfect crock pot recipe to not have to worry about while you’re away all day long….hence the reason it is reappearing on the blog. This super healthy, gluten-free, vegan refried bean recipe is a real keeper. Do try them and see for yourself! While it makes a lot, the leftovers freeze beautifully!

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Vegan Crock Pot Refried Beans
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
Ingredients
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1-2 jalapenos, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 4 cups water
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on HIGH for ~10 hours.
  2. If there is quite a bit of liquid remaining, use a ladle to remove some of the liquid to reserve. Using an immersion blender, blend smooth or semi-smooth to desired consistency, adding back the liquid as needed.
  3. Note: I removed no liquid and had somewhat thin beans, which is how we prefer them. This will vary from crock pot to crock pot, however. The second time, I made the beans in a larger crock pot and added some water to the beans, in addition to the 8 cups of water/broth...worked great!
Notes
Recipe adapted from Queen Bee Coupons
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ cup Calories: 79 Fat: 0.06 Carbohydrates: 17.5 Sugar: 2.0 Sodium: 259 Fiber: 4.4 Protein: 5.6 Cholesterol: 0

 I missed hockey on account of all the crazy weather in the midwest yesterday and so it’s off to the gym this morning! Have a good week :)

Be well,

sig4