Recipe Repeat & Meatless Monday: Vegan Crock Pot Refried Beans


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.


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.


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!


Vegan Crock Pot Refried Beans
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
  • 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
  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!
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,


Crock Pot Wet Chicken Burritos + Weekly Menu


When I teach cooking classes, I just…go with the flow. Other than knowing the recipes and doing the pre-prep, my presentation is far from scripted or rehearsed. I interact with the group, ask questions, and tailor the message to the audience. I improvise, if you will.

As someone who HATED and FEARED public speaking in high school, I started giving presentations on a regular basis in college. It started with a speech class my first semester of freshmen year and when I started leading Weight Watchers meetings soon after, I quickly learned how to speak publicly. In no time, I was accustomed to presenting, to speaking on my toes, and in truth, had come to enjoy speaking to groups. I am by no means an excellent public speaker, but I’ve become much more relaxed, confident, and effective in delivering messages.


Last week during my cooking class on World Diabetes Day I ran into a bit of a…disaster.

I had recently learned that you can squeeze an egg in your hand as hard as you can…and it won’t break. Except, I either learned the trick wrong, remembered the trick wrong, executed the trick wrong…or just had really bad luck. Or bad eggs? Doubtful as I’d purchased them the day before.

In case you’re having trouble reading between the lines here, I cracked an egg all over myself (mostly all over my cashmere cardigan) in the middle of my cooking class. In order to try and save face, I attempted the trick a second time…and had the same result.

Ugh. Ooooooops.


Note to self: don’t try any kitchen tricks in the future.

In truth, improvising in the kitchen, I’ve learned, is risky enough. Throughout the creation of my gluten-free cookbook, COUNTLESS recipes went straight into the trash. My improv skills in the kitchen are not always as effective as my improv skills in speaking to groups (the speaking, not the tricks, that is).

But, there’s always the exception. I’ve never made burritos at home. At least not that I can recall. They’re not my favorite because they tend to get soggy…and I hate soggy tortillas. But these, I baked to a soft crisp…and then smothered with my oh-so-simple enchilada-like sauce that contains all of 3 ingredients. With this particular recipe, I improved, and I got lucky with a huge winner. We ate these 2 consecutive nights and loved every last bite!


Crock Pot Wet Chicken Burritos
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 1 (15 oz) can no salt added tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp taco seasoning
  • 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup dry instant brown rice
  • juice of 1 lime
  • ½ cup cilantro, minced
  • 6 whole wheat burrito-sized tortillas (I use La Tortilla Factory's)
  • 1 cup part-skim pepperjack cheese, shredded
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • ½ head of lettuce, chopped
  1. In a crock pot, combine the tomato sauce, taco seasoning, and green chiles; stir. Add the chicken to the crock pot and turn to coat in the sauce. Turn the crock pot to low and cook 6-8 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  3. Remove chicken from crock pot and shred between two fork; transfer to a large bowl and top with 3-4 tablespoons sauce from the crock pot. Reserve remaining sauce in the crock pot and turn crock pot to high.
  4. Cook the rice according to package directions. Once cooked and hot, stir in the lime juice and cilantro; keep warm.
  5. In each tortilla, add ⅓ cup rice and about 5 ounces of shredded chicken. Roll the burritos, folding in the sides to contain the filling. Place the burritos seam side down on a baking sheet. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until tops begin to brown.
  6. Top each burrito with about ¼ cup reserved sauce from the crock pot, a few tablespoons of cheese, tomato, and lettuce. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 burrito Calories: 415 Fat: 9.5 Carbohydrates: 39.8 Sugar: 5.8 Sodium: 682 Fiber: 15.2 Protein: 52.2 Cholesterol: 87

Weekly Menu: November 17th – 21st

Excited for a lazy day followed up with a hockey game -and- a hockey practice. :)

Be well,


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,