Monthly Archives: August 2010

Tantalizing Trio: Spinach, Feta, and Pine Nuts

I knew it all along, but my co-workers confirmed it: Mr. Prevention is spoiled. Rotten!

As I tore out must-make recipes from the latest issue of Cooking Light at the lunch table yesterday, people inquired. “Do you make these recipes?” Yes. “You cook every night?” Most nights.

Your husband is spoiled…

True story! πŸ˜‰

Chicken Stuffed with Spinach, Feta, and Pine Nuts from Cooking Light

5 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
4Β  (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoonΒ  salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350Β°.

Heat a large nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach to pan; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts, tossing constantly. Place spinach in a colander; press until barely moist. Wipe pan clean.

Combine spinach, cheese, nuts, thyme, juice, and garlic. Cut a horizontal slit through the thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket. Stuff 3 tablespoons filling into each pocket. Seal with wooden picks. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until brown. Add broth, and cover pan. Place pan in oven. Bake at 350Β° for 15 minutes or until done. Serves 4.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 297 calories; 11.6 g. fat (3.4 saturated; 4.4 monounsaturated; 2.4 polyunsaturated); 111 mg. cholesterol; 493 mg. sodium; 3.4 g. carbohydrate; 1.2 g. fiber; 43.3 g. protein

Result: Mr. Prevention was a big fan of this dish — he said it was a great mixture of flavors, and I concur. The spinach, feta, and pine nuts go beautifully together. I think next time I will just simmer the chicken stove-top instead of putting them in the oven. If the chicken breasts aren’t too big, I imagine the cooking time would be the same and it would save a step.

I served the chicken with fingerling and Peruvian purple potatoes. To me, purple potatoes are sweet and taste a little like a beet. I love them! Pigmented potatoes offer a variety of antioxidants based on their shade, so don’t hesitate to try different colored potatoes!

The carbohydrates in potatoes are also “complex” meaning they are a healthier form of carbohydrate because of their fiber content. Potatoes for so long have received a bad rep, and there’s just not much truth to potato rumors — they’re a nutrition power house and American staple! πŸ˜€

“Bath time for meeeee!?!?”

Question: What’s your favorite way to eat spuds? Butter? Sour cream? Roasted with garlic? Olive oil? Fried?

Happy day,



Filed under carbohydrates, Cooking Light, dinner, dog, fiber, fruits and vegetables, herbs, pets, protein, recipe

love in the air

Ugh, back to the grind.

What a fun weekend…and wedding! I’m running way behind this morning but I wanted to post some pictures. πŸ˜€ I have been friends with the bride for nearly 20 years! And I couldn’t be happier for her!!

Brother & I

Making wedding pictures look good is way harder than making food look good! I get to choose my lighting and take as long as I want without anything changing. πŸ˜‰

Question: What would your dream wedding menu include?

Running so late…!! Eep! Instead of driving back to Columbus and getting ready for the week, grocery shopping, laundry, etc…I joined Mr. P on the couch to watch State of Play until past my bedtime! Great movie, though! And I was overdue for some hubby snuggles! πŸ˜‰

Happy Monday,


Filed under Uncategorized

still in full bloom!

Pictures should do the trick… πŸ˜‰

The ‘rents cucumbers are going wild!

Swiss chard…impressive!

Chives galore!

Beautiful basil!

More cucumbers!

Bee hangout

Lunch: wheat tortillas with turkey, greens, peach, feta, red onion, walnuts, and a vinaigrette dressing. Ma did well! πŸ˜€

Brother & I after shoe shopping πŸ˜‰

Heath bar cake Γ  la Mama Prevention! Mmmm!

I spent the day shopping and visiting with friends and family. I even got in a 4.1 mile run at my old high school track, all while watching the freshmen boy’s soccer game — they won 4-2 πŸ˜‰

It was a PERFECT evening for dinner and drinks on a local pub’s patio…so that’s what we did. Obviously! πŸ™‚

Question: What’s one thing you miss most about high school?

I miss the extracurriculars! Cross-country was a blast!

Off to the farmer’s market!


Filed under dining out, fruits and vegetables, garden, physical activity, running, Uncategorized

home sweet home!

“There’s no place like home…”

Firstly, take pictures from the car with caution. πŸ™‚ I was stopped in traffic, for the record! When I pulled into Chicago on a 14-lane highway to the city of my motherland’s skyline…I had to capture it! I’ve missed home! As calm as the country can be, I’m a city girl at heart! I’ve left Mr. Prevention and Miss Lily back in Columbus…just me and the fam this weekend (and next weekend when they come to see our new house and watch some football!)

Yesterday I worked nearly a full day, drove 5 1/2 hours to Chicago, and met my parents out for their town’s weekly “progressive dinner”, as I call it. For the “progressive dinner” you buy vouchers for participating restaurants where you can try a small portion of different foods. We tried (and shared!) everything from calamari to falafel to brownie sundaes. I left with a small food baby, as Juno’s friend referred to them. (Great movie, by the way!) I should’ve and would’ve taken pictures, but I was too wrapped up in family fun…sorry! πŸ˜€

Originally, I had plans to run while my parents were at their “progressive dinner” but when I got into town a few minutes ahead of schedule, they dragged me out…which didn’t take much effort on their part. πŸ˜‰ When we got home at 9pm, I knew I still needed to squeeze in my run (ugggh!!!). I was thinking of Biz and my 101 Days of Summer Challenge goal! I need to stay on track!!

I headed out, staying close to my parent’s house.

Running safety: I carried my ID, stayed within 2 blocks of home, ran on the best lit sides of the streets, gave my family a time at which I would be back by, and did not wear head phones. I typically don’t run after dark, so I finished a quick 1.51 miles in 14:40 — nothing spectacular, but it felt great…surprisingly!

Question: Do you workout outdoors after dark? Do you take any safety precautions? Any fun weekend plans?

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

P.S. Thanks for all your workout song recommendations! I love them and will be adding them to my mix! πŸ˜€

Be well,


Filed under physical activity, restaurant, running, travel, work

“get riiiii-iiiii-iii-iiight”

I officially don’t like Wednesdays. On Wednesdays I work at a different dialysis clinic that is an hour and 15 minutes from home. And my hours are 10am-8pm, meaning I leave at 8:45am and get home at 9:15pm…ugh. I really like the clinic and the staff, but covering 2nd and 3rd shifts so far from home is obviously not optimal. C’est la vie. I am blessed to have a job…and one that I love, at that πŸ˜€

But it is days like yesterday that make me very glad I plan ahead and have easy on-the-go healthy snacks. When Georgie posted the below recipe, I absolutely wanted to try it.…especially since I’ve never used wheat bran before. And what a treat I was missing! A serving of wheat bran, 1/4 cup, is a mere 30 calories and 6 grams of fiber!

Apple Bran Muffins slightly adapted from Ask Georgie

Cooking oil spray or muffin liners
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup wheat bran
2 medium apples, peeled and finely chopped (2ΒΌ cups)
1 tablespoon baking powder
Β½ teaspoon baking soda
ΒΌ teaspoon salt
Β½ unsweetened applesauce
ΒΌ cup skim milk
ΒΌ cup egg whites (2)
ΒΌ cup molasses (I used maple syrup)
2 tablespoons oil (olive, macadamia, or canola)
1 tsp cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350Β°F. Coat wells of a muffin tin thoroughly with cooking oil spray or place liners in muffin wells.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, bran, apple, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; stir to mix.
In a separate large mixing bowl, stir together applesauce, milk, egg whites, molasses/syrup and oil. Add dry ingredients to wet ones, and stir just until uniformly moistened. Spoon batter into 12 muffin wells.

Bake 18-20 minutes or until tops spring back lightly when touched. Allow to cool completely before removing from tin. Store in refrigerator. Yield: 12 muffins.

Nutrition Information (per muffin): 103 calories; 2.7 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 60 mg. sodium; 18.9 g. carbohydrate; 3.7 g. fiber; 1.6 g. protein

Result: These are great! They are hearty and filling…and remind me so much of fall which is quickly approaching. I don’t think you can beat those nutrition stats, either. One muffin for breakfast? Why not 2 AND a piece of fruit and still come in under 300 calories!


And during my run yesterday I decided that this song is one that always causes an increase in pace! It’s hard NOT to move to this song! The beat is great…the lyrics…um, yeah. It’s the beat I love! πŸ˜‰

A short day at work and then I’m off to Chicago for a wedding and some over-due time with family & friends! My brother is my date to the wedding…we’ll have a blast, I can’t wait!

Question: What’s your #1 workout tune that always gets you in the workout state of mind?

Be well,


Filed under breakfast, fiber, recipe, running, stress, Uncategorized, work

cupcakes all around!

Yesterday was one of those days that you feel lucky to be in the right place at the right time. I was sitting in my office right before lunch, charting away, when the social worker comes through the clinic doors.

Social worker: Oh, dietitian! Dietitian!…Mr.XYZ’s family brought cupcakes for all of the patients to celebrate his 85th birthday. They’re passing them out now…I thought I should let you know.

Me: Are they chocolate? [because chocolate has a lot of phosphorus which is bad for our patients]

Social worker: I’m not sure.

::We walk out to the dialysis clinic. All the patients are smiling…beaming even, with their cupcake frosting covered teeth and apple juice juice boxes::

Me: Okay, they’re not chocolate. Good. But even if they were, I don’t think I’d stop them. They all look too darn HAPPY!

Dialysis patients are generally speaking, very sick pups, and seeing those cupcakes light up their faces with smiles was just enough to make your heart melt πŸ˜€ And that just goes to show that food is not only about fueling the body, but the also the soul.



And at the risk of getting visual daggers thrown at me over dinner, I dared to take my tofu kick a step further with this dish. Lee posted this recipe and I really wanted to try it! Despite Mr. Prevention’s moans and groans over MORE tofu, he came around.

Tofu Parmigiana slightly adapted from In My Tummy

1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
5 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
salt and pepper, to taste
1 (14 ounce) package extra firm tofu
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 (18 ounce) can/jar tomato marinara sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 3 clove garlic, minced
4 ounces 2% shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten


In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon oregano, salt, and
black pepper.

Slice tofu into 1/4 inch thick slices (picture below), and place in bowl of cold water press water out of tofu using paper towels. Coat tofu in egg and one at a time, press tofu slices into crumb mixture, turning to coat all sides.

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook tofu slices until crisp on one side. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil, turn, and brown on the other side.

Combine tomato sauce, basil, garlic, and remaining oregano. Place a thin layer of sauce in an 8 inch square baking pan. Arrange tofu slices in the pan. Spoon remaining sauce over tofu. Top with shredded mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan.

Bake at 400Β° F for 20 minutes. Serves 5.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 340 calories; 18.4 g. fat; 57 mg. sodium; 1014 mg. sodium; 18.8 g. carbohydrate; 3.2 g. fiber; 22.6 g. protein

Result: This was delicious! It tasted EXACTLY like chicken parmigiana (a favorite of mine)…but with tofu! If you’re not a tofu fan, or don’t know if you like tofu, this would be a great way to try tofu again, or to give tofu a shot. As much as Mr. Prevention doesn’t like tofu and whines about it at dinner, he even ate this and said it was “okay”. Honestly though, two big thumbs up from me!!! I like this it’s low in carbohydrates and high in protein. The sodium content is high and that’s because of the marinara and bread crumbs…cheese, too. If you’re up for making homemade marinara, that would cut out some of the sodium.

I cut the tofu to look like this, and I pressed most of the liquid out using paper towels.

I also layered it in the baking dish over-lapping.

“I smell TOFU!!! Hook me up, mommy!”

Question: Do you like tofu? What’s the last thing that made you smile?

Half way to the weekend!


Filed under carb-controlled, dessert, dialysis & kidney disease, dinner, dog, garlic, healthy cooking, herbs, pets, protein, recipe, sodium, work

Stick to the recipe! Stick to the recipe!

Not too many of my recipes are busts because 1) I can read and “always” follow recipe directions and 2) 99% of those recipes come from foodie bloggers who recommend recipes to try. I think I know what went wrong with my pad thai last night, but I was (and still am!) totally bummed. I’ve been looking forward to making this recipe as it looks DELICIOUS on Tes’ blog.

For the recipe I did try a new ingredient which I found at an Asian/Indian food store. The name of the product is tamarind. It has a very unique flavor and appearance. I tried Googling “substitutions for tamarind” to save a trip and a few bucks, but Internet foodie gurus swore that nothing could replace the flavor of tamarind.



And in paste form looks something like this:


Pad Thai slightly adapted from Tes at Home

100 gm 8 ounces rice noodle stick, uncooked
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 3 large egg, beaten
100 gm 1 block tofu, diced into bite-size pieces
10-15 1/2 lb prawns, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp tamarind paste
1 2 tsp sugar
1 tsp low sodium dark soy sauce
1 tbsp Light soy sauce (I didn’t know what this is, so I used low-sodium soy sauce)
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 cup bean sprouts
2 tbsp peanut oil
1/2 head cabbage, chopped
4 Tbsp roasted peanuts, chopped
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
Chili flakes, optional

And I stupidly added rice vinegar after seeing a recipe call for it. I also “eye balled” the tamarind and I think I used too much. The sauce was very tart as a result.


Soak the dry noodle in warm water for 3 minutes, drain and keep aside. Cook rice noodles according to box. The variety I purchased needed 25-30 minutes of soaking time in warm water.

Heat a large wok or pan over the medium high heat. Spray with non-stick spray. Add egg and fry until cook. Cool down and slice into long strips.

Add about 1 tablespoon of oil, add tofu and fry until light brown. Remove from pan and keep aside.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to the same pan, then add garlic and stir until fragrant. Add shrimp and cook for few minutes. Add tamarind paste, sugar, dark soy sauce and light soy sauce. Add rice noodle and toss until all ingredients coated and stir fry for few minutes. Add bean sprout and fish sauce and cook further for 1 minute or until the noodle is tender and cook.

Transfer Pad Thai into the serving plate; add more bean sprout, sliced fry egg, crushed peanuts and cabbage. Squeeze lime juice over it before eating. For extra heat you can add some chili flakes. Serves 5.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 491 calories; 18.8 g. fat; 189 mg. cholesterol; 508 mg. sodium; 52.6 g. carbohydrate; 6.6 g. fiber; 27.4 g. protein

Result: Mr. Prevention went back for seconds, so I know it was edible and he liked it! Like I stated above, adding the rice vinegar and not measuring the tamarind made for a very tart sauce…and simply too much sauce. I do think I’ll be trying this recipe again, but maybe with a slightly different sauce recipe..or simply FOLLOWING the recipe!!! Pad thai is something I’m particular about; at the University of Illinois there was an authentic thai restaurant that served the BEST pad thai and I’ve never found a recipe as wonderful since.


Last night my run was BRUTAL — 4.1 miles took me nearly 44 minutes. I think this is because I need new shoes like nobody’s business and because I played my little heart out at hockey the night before and my quads were TIGHT. Whenever I get shin splints and ankle pain, I know my shoes are shot. I should really have a pair on hand to prevent running related injuries and pains, note to self!

…But at least I’m on track to complete my 70 out of 101 days running for Biz’s 101 Days of Summer Challenge! πŸ˜€

My new DSLR camera arrived yesterday (THANK YOU, AMAZON WARRANTIES!!!). So I took a few random pictures πŸ™‚

My basil that isn’t dead yet — it’s nearly 4 weeks old! I have a tendency to KILL basil, but so far so good!

And a Lily shot..

Question: What’s the last “out of the ordinary” ingredient you purchased? Was it a hit or a bust?

P.S. Send in questions for a Q&A sometime this week or next! I realize I haven’t been holding Q&A’s as often, sorry! But I do want to answer your nutrition questions! Email me at!

Be well,


Filed under blog topic request, dog, grocery store, hockey, recipe, running