Meatless Monday: Vegan Pumpkin-Coconut Muffins


Most recently, I’ve had coconut in the form of a pina colada. A REAL pina colada made with REAL coconut and REAL pineapple. I splurged and had one while in Mexico. I enjoyed every last sip of the calorie-packed cocktail. It was glorious. As someone who rarely consumes cocktails, a pina colada while on a beach vacation is an absolute must.

And as a lover of all things coconut, I’m convinced that it is an ingredient that belongs in sweet and savory dishes alike.


New Ambrosia with Buttermilk-Coconut Dressing. Salad dressing…coconut.

Blueberry Coconut Bread. Blueberries and coconut are made for one another – fact. I learned that after making Vegan Blueberry-Coconut Muffins.

Coconut and Fruit Cold Oat Breakfast Salad. A cold oat breakfast can only be made good with coconut.

Crispy Coconut Chicken Fingers – proof that coconut and savory totally work. And Thai Shrimp Soup with Lemon and Jalapenos in case you prefer more sophisticated dishes .


While this not-so-lovely, cold, Michigan-in-November Monday does not have a pina colada in my future (not even a Skinny Pina Colada), I will be grabbing ones of these muffins from the freezer as I dash out the door for what promises to be a very busy day.

Wait, no. Not just a very busy day but an insanely busy week.

Perhaps I should grab TWO muffins for the road.


Vegan Pumpkin-Coconut Muffins
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or white wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line muffin pans with 15 liners and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, oil, vanilla, and brown sugar. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. Fold in the coconut.
  4. Scoop the batter into the muffin tins, filling about ⅔rds full. Bake muffins for 20-22 minutes. Allow to cool before serving. Store in an air-tight containers for 3-4 days.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 muffin Calories: 177 Fat: 9.5 Carbohydrates: 22.1 Sugar: 7.5 Sodium: 214 Fiber: 4.1 Protein: 2.1 Cholesterol: 0

 Monday blues. :(

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,


Rustic Tuscan-Style Sausage Soup


One of my biggest pet peeves in life is when someone says they’re going to do something and then they don’t. Even if it’s something little – text me later, finish a project by the end of the week, call me on their lunch break, send me an email as soon as they get back to their office, meet me for coffee…on time. If I tell someone I’m going to do something — I do it. And if I don’t, I feel really, really, really bad because I simply forgot.

But then there’s the empty words of things people (or myself) say that you know will never come to fruition.


Like after a bad break-up when you promise to keep in touch. Truth is, things are never the same and a friendship never comes about.

Or when you buy the candy ONLY for Trick-or-Treaters and you swear that if there’s any leftover, you’ll just take it to work. Except a week later, you’re surrounded in fun size candy wrappers for the 7th straight night.

Or when you go on vacation and take workout clothes for every day you’re away, swearing you’ll work hard at not coming back up 5 pounds from all the margaritas and desserts you enjoyed.

Or when you think in your head, “I can play in a 10pm hockey game, get home at midnight, and get up at 5am for the gym, too.” Yeah, it aint gunna happen.


And when your husband jokes for the better part of a decade that he’s going to shave his head bald because his hairline is receding, you never believe him. That is, until you come home from work on a Monday (i.e. yesterday) to find him totally and completely bald. FACT.

Sometimes, people surprise you…and sometimes pleasantly so. Like when your coworker raves about a soup she made and promises to bring you the recipe…and then she does. The very next day (i.e. this recipe). #sogood


5.0 from 2 reviews
Rustic Tuscan-Style Sausage Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 sweet Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 7 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can no salt added diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ Tbsp dried basil
  • 8 oz dry whole wheat shell pasta
  • 5 oz fresh spinach
  • ¼ tsp black pepper, or to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the sausage. Using a wooden spoon, break the sausage into pieces, cooking it until browned, about 5-6 minutes.
  2. To the pot, add the carrots and onion and saute for 5-6 minutes or until softened and beginning to brown. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the broth, tomatoes, beans, and basil; turn the heat up to high and bring to a gentle boil. Stir in the pasta and cook for 7-9 minutes or until al dente.
  4. Stir in the spinach and black pepper; cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Serve hot.
Recipe from Pin Cookie
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ~2 cups Calories: 410 Fat: 8.4 Carbohydrates: 56.2 Sugar: 6.4 Sodium: 691 Fiber: 11.2 Protein: 27.2 Cholesterol: 42

 Have a super day!

Be well,


Whole Wheat Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Chocolate Frosting


I went to bed Friday night without much on the agenda for the weekend. In fact, my goal for the weekend was to get plenty of sleep and to do something relaxing…like read a book. I have about 10 books laying around that have bookmarks just a few pages or chapters deep. At this point, I should probably just start them all over.

Needless to say, we went to bed at 9:20pm. On a Friday night.

We have no children and we also clearly have no life. But it…was…glorious.


When I got up Saturday, I was hungry. An 11 hour snooze will do that to a woman, I guess.

I plowed through the pantry and fridge for something other than cereal or oats and when I came up empty handed, I decided it was time to get busy. After polling the audience (i.e. you, on Facebook), it was determined that 1. I am not the only pumpkin carb lover around and 2. I’m not the only one who loves donuts!

A quick Google search later, my dear friend Miryam’s pumpkin donut recipe came up. (P.S. You should check out her blog. She is also an RD, a phenomenal cook, and just an all-around amazing person. She and I have way too much fun together!)


When Mr. Prevention filed down the stairs after his TWELVE hour snooze (I know, I know) the first words out of his mouth were, “How does it feel to not be working on a cookbook!?”

And it did feel amazing to be cooking/baking without a need or agenda and…to include some gluten ;) Sorry, gluten-free friends. I still love my whole wheat pastry flour – it’s so easy and forgiving. I even stocked up on it yesterday while out shopping. These donuts had great texture, flavor, and of course…the frosting. But at a sinless 154 calories a piece, I enjoyed 2…and a half!


Whole Wheat Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Chocolate Frosting
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
  • 1¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour or white wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ginger
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1½ Tbsp olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Mist the donut pan with olive oil spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, and eggs. Add the almond milk, olive oil, and vanilla; whisk well.
  4. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until moistened throughout using a rubber spatula. Do not over-mix. Fill each donut well ⅔rds full and using the back of a spoon or your finger, gently smooth the donut batter into the well.
  5. Bake donuts for 15-17 minutes. Cool donuts in the pan for about 10 minutes and remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Meanwhile, microwave the chocolate and oil in small bowl on medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds. Dunk the top side of each donut into the chocolate, allowing excess to drop off. Chocolate will set in about 10 minutes.
Adapted from Eat Good 4 Life
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 donut (3 inch diameter) Calories: 154 Fat: 6.3 Carbohydrates: 22.6 Sugar: 6.6 Sodium: 167 Fiber: 2.2 Protein: 2.3 Cholesterol: 25

 Now, today…I need to get to a book! I have plenty of time to do so…my hockey game isn’t until 9:30pm. :-/

Be well,


20-Minute Loaded Chicken Noodle Soup


My little brother — you know, the one who didn’t eat anything other than meat and cheese on his tacos until the age of 18 — he made HOMEMADE sushi rolls the other day. Yep, he and his girlfriend not only made sushi, but they recorded doing so on video which was promptly uploaded to Facebook to be shared.

I “liked” the video. I mean, I’m seriously, seriously impressed. He was even able to share that the sushi rice was able to be found at their local Chicagoland grocer. My little brother went to the grocery store looking for sushi rice? Still trying to envision that one…


Oh my, little brother of mine….you’ve come so, so far.

Honestly, though…these sushi rolls looked pretty killer. A little on the girth-y side, but delicious nonetheless. Plus, there was avocado and cucumber in the rolls (2 green foods!!), and my brother patted the rice smoothly against the seaweed sheets in a expert fashion rather effortlessly, I must say.

I was quick to request homemade sushi from him…to which he happily obliged. I think he takes any and every opportunity to show off his culinary skills and so long as my taste buds and stomach are on the receiving end of that, I’m all for it.


I, on the other hand, have reverted back to oldie but goodie recipes. A recipe that probably shouldn’t work as well as it does. You just don’t see soups made like this — basically, simmering the veggies, not sauteing first. It’s half lazy and half genius.

You see, your broth takes on all the flavors of the ingredients while reducing the amount of time and the effort in babysitting the pot. In short, it’s nearly impossible to mess up this recipe. You throw everything in a pot and let it go — easy peasy. The real beauty of the soup, however, is in that it is packed with all the good stuff – veggies, chicken, and of course, noodles. There’s lots of goodies in every bite.


4.5 from 2 reviews
Loaded Chicken Noodle Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 64 oz low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 lb (5-6 whole) carrots, finely diced
  • 3 large celery stalks, finely diced
  • 4 cups (6 oz) dry egg noodles
  • 14 oz rotisserie chicken (skin removed)
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  1. Bring the chicken broth to a simmer in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and celery and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until softened.
  2. Add the noodles and cook for 3-4 minutes, until partially cooked.
  3. Add the chicken and black pepper; cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Serve hot.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 cups Calories: 296 Fat: 3.2 Carbohydrates: 36.5 Sugar: 5.5 Sodium: 229 Fiber: 4.3 Protein: 27.8 Cholesterol: 98

 It’s getting closer to Friday! :-D

Be well,