Monthly Archives: November 2010

Kale Gratin and a Q&A

Hello new readers and thank you for your comments! Lots of you lately…thanks for stopping by! 😀

Confession: I don’t LOVE kale. I like the flavor a lot, but the texture is one that likes to tickle the inside of my mouth and tends to be a bit sharp going down, and kinda makes me gag (if I’m being truthful). But because kale is so incredibly healthy and affordable, I love to find creative ways to eat it that are both delicious and nutritious! And in the form of cheesy goodness, I figured Mr. Prevention would be a taker, too.

Right I was. Unfortunately, he turned my beautiful gratin into a chip ‘n’ dip delight. What am I going to do with him?

One cup of kale provides 1328% your daily value of Vitamin K and almost 200% the daily value for Vitamin A. It is also high in Vitamin C, fiber, and omega 3’s. Containing over 45 flavanoids, kale is an anti-cancer vegetable topping the charts, and here’s just one delicious way to enjoy it…two ways if “on a chip” counts. According to Mr. P, it most certainly does.

Kale Gratin from An Edible Mosaic

1 Tbsp canola oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
6-7 oz kale, washed, stem removed, and chopped (about 8 cups chopped)
1 1/2 Tbsp butter, plus more to grease the pan
1 1/2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 oz Gruyère cheese, finely shredded
1 2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely shredded
Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 375° F; grease a medium-sized gratin dish (I used a casserole dish) with butter.

In a large, deep-sided pan with a lid, heat oil over medium heat; once hot, add garlic and sauté 30 seconds.  Add 1 cup water, turn heat up to between medium-high and high, and add kale.  Add 1/3 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper; cover pan and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Drain greens to remove water; put greens back into the pan they were cooked in.

Mix shredded cheeses together; set aside 1/2 1/3 cup to use as topping.  In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter; whisk in flour and cook 1 minute.  Whisk in milk and a pinch freshly grated nutmeg; bring up to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer 1 minute.  Turn off heat and whisk in shredded cheeses, except reserved 1/2 1/3 cup for topping.  Taste cheese sauce and add salt and pepper as desired.

Pour cheese sauce onto greens and stir to combine.  Transfer greens and sauce to prepared gratin dish and spread out in an even layer; top with reserved 1/2 1/3 cup cheese.  Bake 20 minutes until cheese bubbles.  Preheat broiler and broil a couple minutes until cheese is browned in spots.

To Reheat: Preheat oven to 350F.  Cover gratin with aluminum foil and bake until warmed throughout and bubbling on the edges. Serves 6.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 203 calories; 12.2 g. fat; 18 mg. cholesterol; 200 mg. sodium; 13.8 g. carbohydrate; 3.5 g. fiber; 12.2 g. protein

Result: Yum! This was über rich and delicious! It’s hard to believe there are 8 CUPS of kale in the recipe…it cooked down to nothing! Next time, I think I’ll add an additional 3-4 cups of kale just to increase the nutrition with all the cheese…there was plenty to go around! Another HUGE thumbs up for Faith’s recipes!


(Over-due) Q&A!

Renee of My Kitchen Adventures: My question is about vitamin D — how much do we really need and is it true most people are deficient? This is a hot topic right now!

Prevention RD: Hot topic, indeed! Increasing amounts of research are surfacing in support of vitamin D and its anti-cancer and anti-diabetic properties, among other things (MS, for one). The tolerable upper limit (UL) is 2,000 IU for people over the age of 14. Unless you are consuming a TON of cod liver oil, sockeye salmon, mackerel, or Vitamin D-fortified milk, one is not at great risk for too much vitamin D. However, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin meaning it can be consumed in excess and cause toxicity. My recommendation for milk drinkers (in any form) is to find a milk or milk substitute which is vitamin D-fortified. For most individuals consuming a diet that is not exceptionally high in vitamin D (foods noted above), a supplement of 200 IU’s (up to 400 IU’s for vegetarians and vegans) is safe and appropriate*. The Adequate Intake (AI) for vitamin D is 200 IU’s for those 19-50 years of age, 400 IU’s for those 51-70 years of age, and 600 IU’s for those 71+ years of age. While diagnosed deficiency is not common (think rickets), vitamin D plays an integral role in bone health and research is showing more and more that more vitamin D (up to the UL) can provide potential health benefits without associated risks. For what it’s worth, I take a 200 IU vitamin D supplement daily. *This is a broad, general recommendation appropriate for adults eating an “average” diet consisting of 200-ish IU’s of vitamin D.

Samantha of Bikini Birthday: I’m not sure if you read “Weighty Matters”, a Canadian based blog about obesity. In a recent post on Weighty Matters, Dr. Freedhoff questions whether the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s endorsement of certain fast food restaurant meals through their Health Check program is hypocritical or beneficial to the restaurant-going public. I was wondering what your thoughts are on the matter.

Prevention RD: Firstly, I love this question and you for introducing me to that amazing blog. If you have time, please check out the original blog post and the humorous re-do of the post altered to the tune of heroin used as a metaphor for pizza (oh my). Of course I want to agree that in a perfect world, people would cook from scratch, eat 5-9 fruits and vegetables a day, eat only whole grains, and buy 100% organic, low-fat, free-range, grass-fed proteins. In a perfect world. Would I personally, as a Registered Dietitian, endorse “healthier” pizza claiming to improve health outcomes “one pizza at a time”? Heck no. Not from Pizzaville, anyways. Do I think what the dietitian did is WRONG? No. You have to meet people where they’re at. As a dietitian, if you walk up to a fast food junky/Hamburger Helper-aholic and tell them that unless they’re going to eat PERFECTLY it’s not good enough, you’ve lost all credibility and rapport with that person. Eating healthfully is like exercise – you can always do more…but is more always better? Just because 30 minutes of walking isn’t ideal, it’s sure better than sitting on the couch eating, and it’s making strides in the right direction. While posting nutrition facts on menus has yielded less than ideal results, ignorance should not be bliss. While most options are not the BEST options while dining out, you can easily shave THOUSANDS of calories and HUNDREDS of grams of fat from a single meal by making healthier choices. Final thought: Where does the concept of balance in the diet come into play? Eating is not an all or nothing and the sooner we recognize the importance and feasibility of a balanced diet, everyone will be healthier and happier. P.S. I am now subscribed to that blog – what a great one! 🙂

Tiffany of We Are Wedes: Can you explain to me Kefir, what exactly it is, and what it is used for. So far I’ve used it in smoothies (it’s delicious!) but a friend of mine says I can use it as a buttermilk substitute in cakes and other yummy treats. Is this true? Or will I destroy my yummy edible Christmas confections?

Prevention RD: Mmm…Kefir! Kefir is cultured milk made from the introduction of kefir grains into raw milk. Kefir has added fiber (inulin) and is described as a cultured probiotic milk smoothie. Kefir is known for its probiotic benefits, containing 12 live and active strains of bacterium (most yogurts contain 2-3 strains) at 7-10 billion CFU’s (colony forming units) per serving. Pribiotics are found to keep the gut and intestinal tract healthy and functioning properly, as well as help prevent infection and illness. Generally speaking, Kefir can be substituted for buttermilk without issues. If the pH of the Kefir differs from that of buttermilk, the leavening in baked good will flop. Good question!

Question: Do you feel that it is hypocritical for a dietitian to endorse restaurant dining, albeit healthier options?

I promise you won’t hurt my feelings 🙂

Is it Friday yet?



Filed under blog topic request, butter, cancer, diet, dietitians, dining out, dinner, exercise, fast food, fiber, fish oil/omega-3's, fruits and vegetables, garlic, pizza, recipe, restaurant, vegan, vegetarian, vitamins

mama-in-law’s oats

Is it just me, or did the Thanksgiving holiday ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM by? 😦 Enter: Christmas Season 2010. It is now acceptable for me to watch Elf and laugh hysterically every day….gotta love it.

I am thankful for my lead foot, however. While my road rage had Mr. Prevention a bit frightened at times (no joke), we arrived back in Columbus with enough time for me to grocery shop before my hockey game last night. It was rushed, however. Let’s just say it was record-breaking grocery shopping speed that resulted in beads of sweat littering my forehead by the time I reached the check out. No shame! Mission accomplished! A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do….I’m just glad I meal planned and made my shopping list while we were away. Smart thinkin’, self! 😉

There’ll be a bit of this on the menu this week….

And some of this…

And this…

I’m excited for this week’s menu which will include LOTS of veggies! Things need to be lightened up after the holiday.

Anyways, my mother-in-law loves OATMEAL! I would go as far as to say she loves oatmeal as much OR MORE than Kath. Saturday morning we were at my in-law’s and when Susie asked if I wanted oatmeal for breakfast, it sounded so good. I like oatmeal, but I couldn’t have it every morning…no way. I like variety too much for that 🙂

Susie then asked if I wanted her to make me a bowl of her oats — Oats à la Susie! “Yessss! Of course!,” I said!

Oats à la Susie

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup unsweetened Silk Almond Milk
1 Tbsp wheat germ
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1 small apple or 1/2 large apple, cored and diced
cinnamon, to taste
1 tsp brown sugar or sugar substitute (I used brown sugar, she used Sun Crystals)


Core and dice apple, microwave in a bowl for 60 seconds on high. Combine milk and oats, cook on high 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 minutes or until cooked to your desired doneness. Top oats with apples, wheat germ, flaxseed, cinnamon, and sweetener. Enjoy!

While these were the Oats à la Susie of the day, she uses different fruits and variations of this recipe a lot. As long as I’ve been with Mr. Prevention (7+ years!), mama-in-law has loved her oats! 😀 The flaxseed and wheat germ add additional fiber and omega 3’s…gotta love that! They’re also nutty and add a richness to the oats. Mmmm!

So of course when I was grocery shopping last night, I couldn’t find Unsweetened Silk Almond Milk. I did, however, find SO Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk. While it’s not 35 calories per cup (it’s 90), it is SO delicious…just as the label stated. It is also made from organic coconuts, and is soy-free, gluten-free, non-dairy, and non-GMO.

The label also boasts that coconut milk contains 65% medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA’s) which has little relevance to the healthy human; it simply means the fat is very readily digested in the body even when malabsorption is present and thus MCFA’s are used in the clinical setting for people with liver and pancreatic diseases. In the healthy adult, MCFA’s are just used for energy very quickly, similar to carbohydrates.

Question: What’s your milk of choice? Cow’s? Soy? Rice? Almond? Coconut? Hemp?

The options are nearly endless!!!

Back to the grind :(,


Filed under breakfast, fish oil/omega-3's, flax, gluten-free, grocery store, hockey, holiday, recipe, reduced-calorie, sugar substitutes, travel, vegan, vegetarian

Ode to the Clementine

Ode to Clementines from Google

How I love your juiciness.
Tiny and compact.
I put you in my purse,
for when I want a snack.
Eight to ten pieces per,
and not so hard to peel.
Though you stain my thumbs orange,
love for you I will always feel.

I know, I’m a nerd. But I thought it was cute…and totally appropriate. Especially for me — I kid you not, in my purse you can find 2 clementines. Right. Now. They travel well and I ate the rest…there were 5 😉

Clementines, the smallest member of the mandarin family, are in season come November and December. Enjoy these 35-calorie, easy-to-peel, seedless, sweet slices of heaven! They’re a nice break from the heavier squashes and potatoes of the winter months, when apples are on their way out and most other fruits are fair at best.

Question: Do you love clementines, too? 😉

Off to Columbus…hopefully in time for my hockey game…and then grocery shopping! Lots of good stuff on the menu this week…watch ouuut!!!

Ode to the clementine,


Filed under fruits and vegetables, snack, travel

A family tradition.

It all started one Thanksgiving in 1997 when Grannie spilled cranberry sauce on a brand new, white tablecloth. She gasped in disgust of her fumble and embarrassed, she dabbed her napkin in ice water to blot the small red stain. “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry!,” she repeated to my mother.

Being the care-free, go-with-the-flow, amazing woman that she is, my mother assured Grannie that her cranberry mishap was truly no big deal. “There’s always a stain or two to be had on a brand new tablecloth!,” she said…or something like that (I was 12, the details are getting a bit fuzzy). Seeing the truth in that, someone decided that for each stain on the tablecloth, the person causing the stain should sign and date the stain, with the name of the occasion (i.e. Easter, Thanksgiving, birthday, etc.). And that is where the tradition started.

Shortly thereafter, people were spilling on purpose in order to get the opportunity to sign the tablecloth. So before long, the tablecloth was to be signed by all at any major family gathering, and added personal touches are always welcomed.

Being home over this Thanksgiving holiday, I reflected on the importance of that tablecloth to me and my family…it’s like our version of scrapbooking and I think it is so, so special.

It’s hard to believe this tradition is over 13 years old. Volume 2 may be needed as time goes on, the space available on the cloth is sparse! 😉 Friends and loved ones have adopted this tradition because of the meaning it can hold. Love, memories, and togetherness are what family and friends are all about…celebrate that by way of tablecloth scrapbooking!

Question: What’s one tradition your family holds that’s near and dear to you?

Lots of love from Champaign, Illinois (GO ILLINI!),


Filed under holiday

Home for Thanksgiving!

We are at home in Chicago and it is rainy and cold! Mr. Prevention and I got in last night (midnight-ish our time), but made it to the gym already today! I even signed up for an 11am spinning class tomorrow. That is if my legs allow after the stair climber had its way with me today 😉 Thank you, parental unit, for keeping our gym membership a “family membership”. There’s just no excuse to not take advantage when I’m home! 😀

Mom put me to work making breakfast: Cinnamon Biscuit Peach Cobbler from Taste of Home — it was NOT easy to make, but it sure was delicious!

My family’s infamous conversation piece at the table: salt and pepper shakers


My purty mama and handsome bro-bro


And Lily, who was rip roaring and ready to play at 6am after a 5 1/2 hour car ride last night…

She doesn’t look too energetic in those pictures, but I assure you she was. And now Princess Lily is sleeping in the comfy chair — a luxury (the only, quite possibly) she does not have at home!

Italian dinner and Chianti at home tonight with the family, Mr. P, and my college friend, Megan! 😀

Can’t wait for Thanksgiving, more family time, and food! 😀

I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving where ever you are!

From the Windy City,


Filed under dog, holiday

White Chocolate Cranberry-Pistachio Fudge

I love playing hostess and entertaining. In a perfect world, Mr. Prevention would clean the whole house and I would take on all meal planning, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and kitchen clean-up. In a perfect world…

Luckily for Mr. Prevention we travel for the holidays…we leave tonight for Illinois, in fact. Lily, too…FAMILY ROAD TRIP!! We will travel to both Chicago and central Illinois to celebrate Thanksgiving with both my family and my in-laws. In order to take a piece of hospitality with me, I made those decadent buckeyes and one more treat: White Chocolate Cranberry-Pistachio Fudge. Green and red, I realized after making the fudge. Blonde moment.

If the fudge goes over well, it will likely be repeated for the Christmas holiday…it was so easy, and it is so good. And talk about show-stopping, it certainly has that wow-factor. And with 15 minutes of minimal effort, you can’t really beat it.

White Chocolate Cranberry-Pistachio Fudge from Elly Says Opa

16 oz. white chocolate, chopped (chips will work, too)
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup chopped dried cranberries, divided
1/2 cup dry roasted, unsalted pistachio pieces, divided


Line an 8″ square baking dish with parchment or wax paper.

Combine the white chocolate and sweetened condensed milk in a double boiler or a glass/stainless bowl over some simmering water.  Heat until the mixture melts together, whisking occasionally.  Stir in the vanilla extract and remove from the heat.

Add all but about 2 Tbsp. each of the cranberries and pistachios to the white chocolate mixture, stirring to combine. Spread the mixture into the baking dish in an even layer. Top with the remaining pistachios and cranberries, pressing them in slightly with a spatula if necessary. Allow fudge to set (I do so in the fridge) and then cut into 1.5″ squares. Yield: 25 pieces

Nutrition Information (per piece): Nutrition Information (per piece): 186 calories; 7.9 g. fat; 6 mg. cholesterol; 44 mg. sodium; 27 g. carbohydrate; 0.5 g. fiber; 2.2 g. protein

P.S. There are 162 calories in a 1″ diameter buckeye! Eek!!! 😦 Worth it!! 😀

I have only had 4 buckeyes since Saturday — talk about self-control! 😉

Question: Would you rather spend the holidays hosting or being hosted?

Healthy cooking & recipes to resume next week! 😀

Homeward-bound (with desserts in tow),


Filed under dessert, dog, holiday, recipe, self-control, Uncategorized


I was recently asked what I love most about living in Ohio. I quickly responded with “hockey!” but after further, deeper reflection, I do believe buckeyes may be what I love most about Ohio.
Sure, it was annoying to have to hit up 3 different grocery stores in order to find paraffin wax…but it was worth it. It is peak buckeye-making season, after all — OSU plays Michigan next weekend. Speaking of which, paraffin wax is pretty awesome. Per Mr. Prevention’s Google search, not all buckeye recipes call for paraffin wax. Most don’t, actually. However, paraffin wax helps create a hard shell on your buckeye with a nice, even coat of chocolate. Not to mention, the wax leaves the buckeyes with a bit of a shine. Tasty and pretty making them all the better.
If you’ve made buckeyes, you know they can be a pain. Labor-intensive, if you will. Here’s a little secret: it’s all about having available freezer space. Step 1 in this recipe should read, “Clear out as much of your freezer as you can.” You’ll thank me later if you take me up on that little piece of advice. I pinky promise.

Also note, rolling buckeyes is not possible with room temperature batter. It has to be cold, but pliable…moldable (not a word, whatever), without coating your hands in 236 calories worth of delicious buckeye dough. So aim for about 30 minutes of freezer time before you start rolling. If you get the cooling process down, your buckeye-making experience will be much more pleasant.

And lastly, don’t go through the trouble of making buckeyes without at least doubling, if not tripling the recipe like I did (the tripled recipe amounts are in parentheses and italics below). These things should come with a warning label; one batch would just be a tease.
So without further adieu, our Ohio State fan friend’s buckeye recipe!

Buckeyes from Tiffany and Josh

2 cups powdered sugar (6 cups)
10 Tbsp butter, at room temperature (3 sticks + 6 Tbsp)
1 cup all-natural creamy peanut butter (3 cups)
1 (12 ounce) package of semisweet chocolate morsels (36 ounces or 3 packages)
1/4 block paraffin wax (3/4 block paraffin wax)


Mix together powdered sugar, butter, and peanut butter. Chill in the freezer until solid enough to form into balls (about 30 minutes). If the balls are not smooth, place them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and freeze for 15-20 minutes. Re-roll them to smooth.

Melt chocolate and paraffin wax in a double boiler or glass boil over a pot of soft boiling water until blended. Dip peanut butter balls in chocolate, using a toothpick, leaving a round eclipse at the top. Let dry on wax paper (I re-inserted them in the freezer on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet). Remove the toothpick and smooth peanut butter to cover the hole. Store in a covered container in the fridge. Yield: ~25-28 buckeyes (the tripled recipe made 78 buckeyes).

Nutrition Information (per buckeye): YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW!!!

Result: In case the ingredient list wasn’t telling enough…

And because you won’t use all of the chocolate, get creative with the leftovers. I poured the warm, melted chocolate into a lined mini muffin tin. I garnished with a pecan and refrigerated to harden. Doesn’t get much easier than that! You could also use the leftover chocolate to decorate cookies and other baked goods, or simply drink it from the bowl 😉

Question: How many calories do you think are in one 1.5-inch diameter buckeye?

Answer to be revealed tomorrow…brace yourselves!!

Buckeye bliss,


Filed under dessert, recipe