Love Your Heart: Chipotle Black Bean and Shrimp Quesadilla with Edamame Guacamole + Giveaway!


February and National Heart Month continue with more heart-healthy recipes in our Love Your Heart celebration! Lauren, Amy, Cara, and I have whipped up recipes that are perfect for lunch…and your heart.

Mouth-watering heart-healthy lunches to drool over:

My offering this week is a Chipotle Black Bean and Shrimp Quesadilla with Edamame Guacamole and it turned out even better than I expected.


And what makes this recipe heart-healthy? Quite a lot, actually!

  • Avocado: Did you know avocados contain 30 grams of fat? That’s as much as most burgers from fast food restaurants. However, the fat contained in avocados is monounsaturated and helps to lower LDL cholesterol (“the bad”) and triglycerides (fat) in the body. Eating a diet rich in monounsaturated fats helps to promote healthy blood cholesterol levels and prevents atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
  • Black beans: Black beans are one of the best foods for your heart…and as little as 1/2 cup of beans each day can reduce rates of heart disease. Beans are packed with soluble fiber which helps to lower cholesterol. Beans also contain flavanoids, similar to those found in wine, berries, and chocolate that have heart-protective effects. Black beans also contain iron and omega 3′s…who knew!?
  • Whole wheat tortillas: Americans simply do NOT eat enough whole grains which are not only packed with vitamins and minerals, but fiber, as well. A diet rich in whole grains helps to control blood pressure, cholesterol, and supports a healthy body weight.
  • Edamame: Also referred to as soy beans, edamame offers a complete protein meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids (this is rare to find in vegetarian sources!). Edamame contains 8 grams of fiber per cup and strong antioxidants, such as Vitamin E, that combat oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, fighting off chronic diseases like heart disease.



Chipotle Black Bean and Shrimp Quesadilla with Edamame Guacamole

2 100% whole wheat taco-sized tortillas
1/3 cup canned black beans, rinsed
1/2 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, diced
1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 oz cooked salad shrimp (or cooked shrimp that have been roughly chopped)
1/4 cup 2% Monterrey Jack, shredded
cooking spray
1.5 oz (about 2 Tbsp) edamame guacamole (recipe below)


Mash together the black beans, chipotle in adobo, and olive oil in a small bowl using the back side of a fork. Set aside.

Rinse salad shrimp and pat dry with a paper towel.

Spray a griddle or nonstick skillet with cooking spray and warm over medium heat. Place one tortilla on the cooking surface and spread the bean mixture in an even layer using the back of a fork. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Layer on the salad shrimp, distributing them evenly. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and top with the second tortilla.

Cook the quesadilla about 3-4 minutes or until browned on one side. Flip and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, or until tortilla is browned. Remove from heat and allow to rest 1-2 minutes. Slice into fourths and serve with edamame guacamole.

Yield: 2 serving (1/2 of the quesadilla with 2 Tbsp edamame guacamole each).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 330 calories; 13 g. fat; 64 mg. cholesterol; 578 mg. sodium; 31.1 g. carbohydrate; 9.4 g. fiber; 21.7 g. protein

Result: I kind of hate tooting my own horn…but TOOT TOOT! I so rarely make flavor combinations of my own, but I loved the shrimp in here with the heat of the chipotle and the creaminess of the beans, while still offering up the cheesy goodness that people love about a quesadilla. This quesadilla just happens to pack way more nutrition!


While the quesadilla was a new, delicious recipe…this Edamame Guacamole is an oldie but goodie in my kitchen. I love that the high-calorie avocados are cut with the lower calorie, nutrient-packed edamame.



Edamame Guacamole from Cara’s Cravings

1 cup frozen, shelled edamame
1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp water
2 medium avocados
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1/3 tsp cumin
2 Tbsp red onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped


Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the frozen edamame, return to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water; let cool.

Puree the cooked edamame with the yogurt and water in a food processor or blender until completely smooth.

Roughly mash the avocados with a potato masher in a large bowl. Stir in the edamame-yogurt puree, and the remaining ingredients. Adjust seasonings to taste, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yield: 12 servings (1 1/2 ounce, or 2 tablespoons, per serving).

Nutritional Information (per serving): 74 calories; 5.5 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 144 mg. sodium; 4.6 g. carbohydrate; 2.9 g. fiber; 2.7 g. protein


Now…giveaway time!

THREE lucky winners will win one of the following giveaway items:

  1. A copy of Hallie Klecker’s The Pure Kitchen — a gluten-free, dairy-free cookbook that uses wholesome ingredients to create heart-healthy recipes.
  2. Super Healthy Kids Plates — these plates are great for teaching kids how to make a balanced meal!
  3. Tropical Traditions — 32 oz. Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil and 2.2lbs Coconut Flour

How to enter? Leave a SEPARATE comment for each entry for more chances to win!

This giveaway will end Friday, February 10th at 10pm EST. No purchase necessary. Open to US residents only (sorry!). Winners will be chosen at random and notified by email to claim giveaway loot!

Gooood luck!

Be well,

Blackened Salmon


I feel the same way about my crock pot and cast iron skillet – they’re underused magic-makers in my kitchen. Other than this Blackened Salmon, I recently made a Chocolate Dutch Baby in my cast iron skillet. Clearly, that was a wise choice. So…good.

Mr. Prevention and I have been slacking on our salmon-eating lately. Normally, we have at least one fish meal a week, usually salmon…but it hasn’t been on sale lately. Finally, my grocery store had a great deal – wild Atlantic salmon for $6.99/lb! Normally, a “good” deal would be closer to $10/lb, so I was thrilled….and I stocked up!

Blackened salmon is something I would pick off a restaurant menu, falsely believing that it would be difficult to create at home. In reading through the recipe, the preparation couldn’t be any easier. I knew this would be a recipe that Mr. Prevention would love – all of the cayenne and paprika gave this salmon some kick! If you prefer things on the milder side, cut back the cayenne by half.

Because salmon is a fattier (essential omega 3′s!) fish, it is higher in calories. Don’t shy away from the higher calorie salmon, but rather, pair it with a low-calorie side dish of vegetables. To keep with the hint of lemon, I served this Blackened Salmon with a Lemony Potato and Asparagus side…recipe soon to come!



Blackened Salmon slightly adapted from Food Network, as seen on I Was Born to Cook

1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
10 sprigs fresh thyme, removed from stems
1 Tbsp oregano, chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 pieces salmon (6 oz each), skin on
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 lemons, zested and juiced


Mix the first 4 spices together in a small bowl. Put the mixture on a plate and coat the flesh side of each piece of salmon.

Heat a cast-iron pan over medium heat, then add oil. Let the oil smoke heavily, shut heat off, and add salmon flesh side down. Turn the heat back on and cook for about 3 minutes. Flip salmon over and cook until skin is crispy, about 7 minutes.

Plate, sprinkle with lemon zest and juice and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 pieces of salmon.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 340 calories; 18.8 g. fat; 105 mg. cholesterol; 329 mg. sodium; 1.8 g. carbohydrate; 1 g. fiber; 26.3 g. protein

Result: Great, smoky flavor with some kick! For those who love flavor, this salmon recipe won’t disappoint. Blackened salmon comes together in less than 15 minutes, too! Enjoy!


I am running a 5K tomorrow with my business partner! Today will be spent at the clinic and then making a pasta meal at home in preparation. I took rest days yesterday and today to be sure my legs are ready…to…run!

Happy weekend!

Love Your Heart: Maple, Walnut, and Flaxseed Waffles (or Pancakes)

I’ve got something serious, but fun, to share with you all. Today is not only February 1st (!?) but it marks the start of National Heart Month! When I first started this blog over 2 1/2 years ago, I talked a lot more about vitamins, minerals, and disease prevention. But this month, I’m going “back to my roots” with a month-long celebration of heart-healthy recipes!

While nearly all of my recipes contain healthy aspects or offer a healthier alternative, there will be several recipes this month that highlight and feature specific ingredients that are unique to the health of the heart and preserving our most precious organ.

Luckily, I am not alone in sharing this valuable message and scrumptious, heart-healthy recipes. I have partnered with 3 other health and food-savvy bloggers that are just as passionate about heart health and food — they will also be sharing their heart-healthy recipes with us each Wednesday this month…starting today!

Cara of Cara’s Cravings whipped up a Strawberry Date Avocado Smoothie
Lauren of Healthy Food for Living baked a Winter Blueberry Almond Baked Oatmeal
Amy (and Natalie) of Super Healthy Kids made a colorful Granola Berry Parfait

Um, one of each, please?

As for these waffles (which can be made into pancakes, too!)…they are heart-healthy for several reasons.

  • Flaxseed: Ground flaxseed is not only rich in soluble and insoluble fibers, but it is packed with omega-3 fatty acids – 1.8 grams per tablespoon! Omega-3 fatty acids not only help reduce triglyceride levels, but they act as a natural anti-inflammatory and mild blood thinner. Flaxseed also contains lignands which act in a similar way to estrogen and offer antioxidant properties.
  • Walnuts: Similar to flaxseed, walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. According to many health professionals, myself included, walnuts are the #1 choice when it comes to nuts due to their lipid-lowering, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Plus, they are way cheaper than pecans and pistachios!
  • Whole wheat pastry flour: I use whole wheat pastry flour in everything – it is finer and more palatable in baked goods while maintaining all of the health benefits of whole wheat flour. Offering 12 grams of fiber per cup, whole wheat pastry flour is an excellent source of fiber (plus, vitamins and minerals) that helps protect the heart, control blood pressure, and lower cholesterol.

Obviously these waffles have some heart-healthy benefits to tout, but the taste?

I let Mr. Prevention be the judge.

He not only said these waffles were really, really good (unprompted, I should add!), but he said they were some of the best waffles I’ve ever made. When I told him there was flaxseed in them, he shrugged and said, “Whatever, you can’t taste it.”

These are perfectly sweetened with the maple syrup and have a great crunch and texture from the chopped walnuts. They come together in just a few minutes and are sure to please any waffle or pancake lover. Taking care of your heart never tasted so good!


Maple, Walnut, and Flaxseed Waffles (or Pancakes) adapted from Bon Appetit

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups reduced-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 large egg


Whisk flour, flaxseed meal, walnuts, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Whisk buttermilk, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and egg in another medium bowl. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and whisk just until incorporated.

Prepare waffles according to manufacture’s directions.

To make pancakes, add batter to skillet by scant 1/4 cupfuls to a preheated griddle. Cook until bubbles appear on surface of pancakes and undersides are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn pancakes over and cook until golden on bottom, about 2 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings (1/2 of a Belgian-sized waffle or 3 small pancakes).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 283 calories; 8.8 g. fat; 57 mg. cholesterol; 708 mg. sodium; 42.3 g. carbohydrate; 5.5 g. fiber; 6.8 g. protein

Result: Hearty and wholesome. These waffles are packed with heart-healthy ingredients and are simple to make. Truly, they won’t disappoint. I served them with fresh fruit (as pictured) and just a single drizzle of additional maple syrup…absolutely perfect! Enjoy!


Please feel free to grab our badge and share your heart-healthy recipes in this Month-Long Celebration of Heart-Healthy Recipes! It’s gunna be great!

Even more fun – a giveaway!

Cara is hosting breakfast this week and has several goodies up for grabs including a cookbook, 201 Healthy Smoothies & Juices for Kids written by our very own Amy Roskelley, Paleonola (grain-free granola that’s packed with heart-healthy ingredients), and Chobani! Head on over to Cara’s Cravings to get in on the giveaway this week – there’s lots of ways to win!

Be sure to check in each of the next 4 Wednesdays in February for more heart-healthy recipes! Next up (Feb 8th): Lunch hosted by…moi! :-D

Be well,

Oatmeal Smoothie


Unfortunately, I spend a lot of time in the car. Therefore, breakfasts for on-the-go are a must most days of the work week. And if I don’t have a plan for breakfast, my car wants to do an autopilot to Tim Hortons for more than just my morning cup of joe.

I really enjoy smoothies and make them often, but I have to admit that no matter how HUGE they may be, they don’t tend to keep me satisfied until lunch.


That is, until I added oats to my smoothie.

Not only do the oats add lots of fiber and staying power, but they help to make the smoothie creamy, thick, and rich. As for protein, this smoothie uses Greek yogurt to add some balance and increase satiety.


For whatever reason, people feel they have to justify what they’re eating when they’re around an RD.

Case in point. Yesterday afternoon my boss was SWAMPED at work and being the only nurse at the unit, she couldn’t leave. She hadn’t eaten all day and finally asked me to go to Chipotle and grab her a burrito. She followed up her request with, “Next week, I’m going on a green smoothie diet!”

oatmealsmoothie3After great success with this recipe and staving off hunger until lunch, I suggested oats to my new boss and her smoothie endeavors. She seems to think that I’m the most brilliant dietitian to ever walk the face of the earth. And you know what? I’m going to let her think that!

There, I let you in on my little secret…that I have Martha and Pinterest to thank for ;)



Oatmeal Smoothie adapted from Martha Stewart

1 cup ice
1 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 cup plain 0% fat Greek yogurt
1 banana, peeled
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 Tbsp honey
1 cup fat-free milk, or milk of choice


Place ice and raspberries in the bottom of blender, and all other ingredients on top. Whir until completely smooth. Yield: 2 servings (about 1 3/4 cup each).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 260 calories; 2 g. fat; 2 g. cholesterol; 83 mg. sodium; 51.5 g. carbohydrate; 7.5 g. fiber; 12.5 g. protein

Result: Creamy, rich, and filling! This is a great smoothie for a quick, on-the-go breakfast that’s packed with nutrition…and fiber!


Not much going on this weekend…just some errands, workouts, hockey, grading, and lesson planning.

Be well,

Coconut Shrimp Curry


I think my favorite part of making Indian food is the smells it sends wafting through the house. It never fails that Mr. Prevention is able to smell the savory curry and tumeric and the sweet cardamom and declare, “Indian for dinner!”

Speaking of smells…my best friend of for-ev-er (who loves to be mentioned on “the blog”!) called me yesterday to tell me that the conversation we had on Sunday night could have very well been out last. :(

Did I lose you?


I talked to Kristen on Sunday night on my way back from my hockey game. I wanted to hear alllll about her first date with a new guy (!!). We chatted a while and since we both had to work Monday morning, we called it quits and decided to talk later in the week.

When she called unexpectedly yesterday her first words to me were, “Last night could’ve been the last time we talked!” She went on to explain that the carbon monoxide levels in her place were 6x above “dangerous” levels and had she and her roommates not called the fire department, they could’ve all died that night.


Needless to say, she was shook up.

Unlike the tantalizing, unmistakable scents of Indian food, carbon monoxide has no smell. Other than a few headaches and some generalized fatigue, the girls were all asymptomatic of the deadly carbon monoxide levels in their home.


So here’s my advice. First, check your CO detectors in your home – they’re only good for 5-7 years! Second, make this meal. It’s quick, it’s simple, it’s healthy, and it’s delicious.

Mr. Prevention sure thought he hit the jackpot on this one (though he paused to complain about the absence of naan on the table…). I loved that this Coconut Shrimp Curry was not only healthy, but came together in less than 35 minutes.



Coconut Shrimp Curry adapted from American Masala by Suvir Saran by Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Shrimp marinade:
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tsp ground pepper
1 Tbsp (about a 1-inch piece) fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry powder
1 (14.5-ounce) can no salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can light coconut milk
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups dry brown basmati rice


Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a sauce pan. Season with a pinch of salt, if desired. Add rice, bring to a boil and stir. Reduce heat to low and cover. Allow to simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes.

For the simple shrimp marinade, toss the shrimp with the salt, pepper, cayenne and lemon juice in a resealable large bag or in a bowl. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pot, heat the oil over medium heat until hot. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the pepper, ginger, salt, garlic, coriander, turmeric and curry powder. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture is very fragrant and the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the undrained tomatoes to the pot and cook, stirring and scraping up the browned bits from the bottom, for about 1 minute. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer for 5-6 minutes, stirring often.

Add the coconut milk, stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the shrimp and any accumulated juices from the marinade. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the shrimp are curled, lightly pink and cooked through, about 2-4 minutes. Stir in the cilantro. Serve over hot, cooked rice. Yield: 6 servings (about 3/4 cup rice and 1 cup curry).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 366 calories; 7.5 g. fat; 100 mg. cholesterol; 457 mg. sodium; 53.2 g. carbohydrate; 2.5 g. fiber; 20.5 g. protein

Result: Not sweet, not spicy…but a curry that is deep with flavors. If you’re new to Indian or curry, this would be a great starter dish. Indian spices are available in any grocer and a little bit goes a long way. You’ll be amazed at the rich flavors you can create. We will be making this again. Enjoy!


I am off until I teach tonight! I am going to head to a local cafe to catch up on my Google Reader and read some of my novel :) And at some point, get in a workout!

Be well,