Category Archives: butter

Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Alfredo

Happy Saturday! I am still in my PJ’s, just as I had wished! I don’t know that I’ll make it until 6pm or later – I want to get in some lesson planning and a good workout before the day is done 😉

This meal started out in a humorous way.

Mr P: What’s for dinner?
Me: Spaghetti squash alfredo.
Mr. P: What is spaghetti squash?
Me: Spaghetti squash is spaghetti squash.
Mr. P: Well what is it then, spaghetti or squash?
Me: Both! Squash that looks like spaghetti.
Mr. P: Okay, whatever.

Clearly even those who are married to dietitians are not always well-versed on the varieties of fruits and vegetables out there. And it’s not like I haven’t made spaghetti squash before…Mr. P just probably took a pass at the dinner table! His loss!

Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Alfredo adapted from Healthy Food for Living

1 small large spaghetti squash
1/2 2 Tbsp 50/50 Smart Balance Butter Blend
1 4 small shallots, minced
1 4 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 2 Tbsp flour
1/2 2 cups milk (I used organic 1%)
1 4 oz (2 Tbsp 1/2 cup) neufchatel 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
2 Tbsp 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 400° F. Slice squash in half length-wise. Scrape out seeds and place cut-side down in a 9×13 pan lined with tin foil that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cook 1 hour.  Once cooked, use a fork to pull the stringy, spaghetti-like squash from the skin. Place into a large bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add in the flour and whisk it into the butter for 30 seconds, or until the mixture is well-combined and foamy.

Pour in the milk, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until pink and cooked through. Remove pan from the heat and whisk in the neufchatel and Parmesan cheeses until the sauce is thick and smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top spaghetti squash with alfredo sauce. Yield: 4 servings (approx. 1 1/2 cups spaghetti squash with 4 ounces shrimp and 3/4 cup sauce).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 409 calories; 20.3 g. fat; 213 mg. cholesterol; 720 mg. sodium; 30 g. carbohydrate; 3.3 g. fiber; 32.3 g. protein

Result: I really liked this! Even if you’re not into spaghetti squash, the sauce is well worth making for a traditional pasta. Mr. Prevention said it was very light, and liked the sauce and shrimp — he’s not spaghetti squash’s #1 fan. Be sure to add a bit of salt and pepper to the sauce — it really does need it. Enjoy a lighter shrimp alfredo!

Question: Have you ever had spaghetti squash? Do you like it?

Happy weekend, folks! Off to the coffee shop to lesson plan!



Filed under butter, carb-controlled, coffee, dinner, fiber, fruits and vegetables, garlic, guilt-free, healthy cooking, recipe, reduced-calorie, salad, teaching, Uncategorized

Digging deep for the jolly

It seems like the closer we get to Christmas the less jolly I feel. Quite frankly, I am beat. I haven’t been sleeping well with the anxiety I’m feeling towards my new teaching job. Obviously I am well-versed in nutrition, but I have never lectured 5 hours a week…while balancing a nearly full-time job and a growing private practice. I feel like my to-do list leaves me feeling like nothing ever gets accomplished and there’s always so much on my plate yet to get done. Don’t get me wrong, I am very excited about my new teaching gig…I just hope I do well and give my students the best dose of nutrition ever!

My schedule come January is going to be…insane. I work 34 hours a week in dialysis, teach 5 hours + prep and grading, spend time in private practice and meetings with my partners as much as possible, and love to spend time cooking, exercising, playing ice-hockey, and blogging. I feel like there’s about 8 million balls in the air and I’m trying to keep them all from colliding or crashing to the ground. I thrive in busy environments, but this impending schedule is simply stressing me out.

In order to keep blogging a hobby that brings me enjoyment, I will have to see what my schedule allows as far as posting. While I hope to continue blogging most every day, that may no longer be realistic. As much as that saddens me, I hope you understand…a girl has got to do what a girl has got to do!

Today I am working a short day before picking up Lily at doggy daycare and we make the trip together to Chicago. Mr. Prevention is off on a “Poker Run” today in Illinois with his high school friends. Imagine 30-year-old men in 80’s workout clothes, running around the University of Illinois campus collecting poker cards from various bars for drinking certain beers, shots, and cocktails. As imature as this sounds, it’s a blast….and I will be stuck working. Bitter much? You betcha! The excessive alcohol doesn’t interest me, but not being able to witness this event this year is a shame! But really, I just miss having an actual “Christmas Vacation”…or any substantial amount of time off for the holidays. Oh well. I am very thankful for being employed, there is no doubt.

On a completely unrelated note, several of you have asked me about the new PointsPlus plan from Weight Watchers. As familiar as I am with Weight Watchers, I am not familiar with the new plan. I did, however, find out that my company reimburses 100% for Weight Watchers and so I have plans to attend a meeting very soon to get the skinny (pun intended). With my company, however, you sign-up for either a 13 or 18-week package and are then reimbursed if you attend all the meetings (you can miss up to 3). Several coworkers are taking the plunge to join and I figured it would be a great opportunity to learn about the new program (and give my honest feeback to you all, of course!) and to possibly take off some weight that I have commonly referred to as my “PCOS weight”. Being the go-getter that I am, in addition to feeling as heavy as a boulder with all the Christmas eats, I went all out for the 18-weeks of Weight Watchers. Sure, it will be a challenge to take that time out for meetings, but it is a part of my “me” time that I require for sanity.

It will certainly be interesting, as a dietitian, to sit in on a Weight Watchers meeting. It’s been a long time since I attended Weight Watchers AND lead Weight Watchers meetings. I have heard bits and pieces of the new program — good and bad…from media and members alike. The information regarding PointsPlus found online is very vague and I hope to bring you all information on the new program from my perspective.

Well, that’s a wrap for the most whiny and random post…ever (?) on Prevention RD. I will be glad to pull into Chicago this evening and spend some time with the family, and hopefully a good night’s rest!

I’ll leave you with a recipe for some tasty Pumpkin French Toast with Light Pumpkin Butter, inspired by our hosts in Albuquerque. Their pumpkin french toast was delicious!!

Pumpkin French Toast with Light Pumpkin Butter

1-16 ounce loaf challah, cut into 8 slices, about 3/4 to 1-inch thick
1 cup of Egg Beaters or egg substitute
1 cup + 3 Tbsp pumpkin puree, divided
1 cup of skim milk
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
3 Tbsp Smart Balance Light or Earth Balance
1 Tbsp brown sugar
non-stick spray


For the butter, combine 3 tablespoons of pumpkin puree with the Smart Balance Light and brown sugar. Combine well.

Cut bread into 3/4 to 1-inch thick slices. In a large bowl, whick together Egg Beaters, 1 cup pumpkin puree, milk, and pumpkin pie spice. Soak bread in milk-egg mixture for 1-2 minutes.

Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place the soaked bread in the skillet or on the griddle, flipping after the bottom has browned. Cook the opposite side until browned. Serve immediately. Serves 8 with ~1 tablespoons of pumpkin butter.

Nutrition Information (per slice with 1 Tbsp pumpkin butter): 221 calories; 6.6 g. fat; 17 mg. cholesterol; 340 mg. sodium; 35 g. carbohydrate; 3.4 g. fiber; 8.2 g. sugar; 8.2 g. protein

Result: Carb-o-licious! It’s hard to limit to just 1 piece, but they are rather large. I splurged and had 2 one morning and I ate the leftover pieces one at a time with an over-medium egg. Delicious! Pumpkin is never out of season in my kitchen or belly!!!

I may not be 100% jolly (just yet!), but our neighborhood is sure all decked out! Our block all decorates our trees the same and it really does look festive and beautiful!

Question: Does the hustle and bustle of the holiday season make you giddy with glee, or do you get a bit overwhelmed and stressed?

I think working adults need sanctioned holiday vacations like kids in school. I remember the days of a full MONTH with nothing but sleeping in was of concern! College, I miss you!

Tis the season,


Filed under breakfast, butter, carbohydrates, coffee, condiments, diet, dietitians, holiday, PCOS, recipe, stress, weight loss, Weight Watchers, work

The Great Toffee Debate

Sometimes, you find the best recipes in the darnedest places. Or maybe it’s just me, because my eyes are always peeled for something new and fabulous to whip up. Rewind to Saturday when I was getting my hair cut, and my salon had a spread for Christmas — everything from chili to meatballs to sugar cookies to Christmas Crack, also referred to as “Franco’s Christmas Bark”. But yes, the staff called this Christmas Bark, Christmas Crack…for a reason.

Addiction isn’t a joking matter, people. Make this within hours of taking it to its final destination. Not days, hours. Maybe just ONE hour. You’ve been warned.

As I was paying for my hair cut there was a little bowl of Franco’s Christmas Bark. “You HAVE to try a piece!,” my hair dresser told me. Who am I to turn down a 1-inch square, very thin, piece of Christmas Bark? Not much caloric damage can be done in one little piece, right? And then as my taste buds registered the miracle that was taking place in my mouth, my fingers went to auto-pilot, straight to the Christmas Crack for seconds…and then thirds. Crack, people. No joking matter. Thirds? This is bad because 1) RD’s know portion control best, right? and 2) how rude of me!

“What are you doing this afternoon, Nicole?,” my hair dresser asked as I was signing my credit card receipt, and shoveling in thirds of Christmas Crack.

Without a thought I responded with, “I guess making Christmas Crack… this is PHENOMENAL!” She laughed to the tone of, “I’ve heard that a time or two already today!”

While I was prepared to comb the internet for the recipe, the salon owner overheard my moaning of enjoyment and and handed over the recipe. Apparently he was expecting his Crack samples to trigger others’ baking impulses. Thankyouverymuch!

I swung by Kroger for the only ingredient I did not have on hand: saltine crackers. Yes, you read that right. Saltine crackers. And the rest is history.

Franco’s Christmas Bark from the owner of my hair salon

1 sleeve of saltine crackers
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 Tbsp chocolate sprinkles


Preheat oven to 375° F.

Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Lay saltines on the bottom of the pan, sides touching, in one big rectangle. The square will not quite be big enough to cover the cookie sheet.

In a sauce pan, melt butter and brown sugar until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add baking soda. Mixture will get frothy.

Spread the butter mixture over the saltines. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. Return the cookie sheet to the oven for 2 minutes. Remove and smooth chocolate over the surface of the crackers using a spatula. Top with sprinkles or decoration of your choice. Yield: 64 pieces.

Nutrition Information (per piece): 63 calories; 3.6 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 21 mg. sodium; 7.5 g. carbohydrate; 0 g. fiber; 5.7 g. sugar; 0.2 g. protein

Result: The salon staff called this Christmas Crack for a reason — it is outstanding! It has the taste of toffee without the hard crunch. Rather, it’s flaky, sweet, and salty and creates a party of delicious flavor in your mouth. Enjoy!

The irony of this Christmas Bark recipe is that I also made my second attempt at Almond Toffee this weekend, my all-time favorite treat. Toffee is, hands down, my favorite. I never thought there would be a toffee or toffee-like treat to trump a traditional toffee.


But classic toffee is still fabulous, and here’s the recipe I (finally) found success with.

Almond Toffee from

1 1/2 cups (6 oz) whole raw almonds
3 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups (3/4 lb) unsalted butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla
12 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped


Place almonds in a baking pan. Bake at 350° F, shaking pan occasionally, until golden beneath skins, 10 to 12 minutes. When cool enough to handle, finely chop.

In a 5- to 6-quart pan over medium-low heat, stir sugar, butter, corn syrup, salt, and 3/4 cup water until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is deep golden brown (300° on a candy thermometer; see notes), 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully stir in vanilla and half the almonds (mixture may bubble up). Immediately pour into a 10- by 15-inch baking pan with 1-inch-tall sides. Let toffee cool at room temperature until set, at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, place chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl. Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in bottom of double boiler or a pan that the bowl can nest in; remove pan from heat. Place chocolate over water and let stand, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth, about 10 minutes.

Pour chocolate over cooled toffee; with a knife or an offset spatula, spread level. Sprinkle remaining almonds evenly over chocolate. Let stand at room temperature until chocolate is set, at least 1 hour (or chill about 30 minutes).

To remove, gently twist pan to release toffee, then chop or break into chunks. Store airtight at room temperature for up to 2 days, or chill airtight up to 1 month. Yield: 3 pounds, or 48 pieces (1 ounce each).

Nutrition Information (per piece/1 oz): 161 calories; 9.4 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 42 mg. sodium; 19.7 g. carbohydrate; 0.4 g. fiber; 18 g. sugar; 0.8 g. protein

Result: This was the first toffee recipe I successfully made, and YUM! My biggest word of caution is to not over-stir the toffee as it simmers away reaching 300° F — I think over-stirring is what caused me some issues with my first toffee attempt. Also, use a large enough sauce pan or pot; the butter/sugar mixture will bubble up and splatter some…and it is HOT. This really was simple enough, and very, very good! Enjoy!

The votes are in.

Christmas Bark (Crack) vs. Almond Toffee: Which is better?

Moi: Christmas Bark.
Mr. P: Christmas Bark.

The results are unanimous. Guess my efforts in perfecting a classic toffee were all for nothing. 😉

Question: Do you love toffee, too?

P.S. One cookie recipe left, a cookie round-up, and then I’m back to all RD, all most of the time 😉 I’ve featured enough butter, flour, and sugar for all of 2010, I do believe!

Addicted to Christmas Bark,


Filed under butter, dessert, recipe, Uncategorized

Brown Sugar Bacon Waffles

Before you inaccurately assume Brown Sugar Bacon Waffles are unhealthy and gross, let me tell you how I kicked my own tushie yesterday. You see, after picking up Lily on Monday, I had no motivation for a sweat session…I just wanted to cuddle with my furbaby and relax after the travel nightmare that was last weekend. Seeing as my last workout was Saturday during a hike and Thursday evening prior to that (Tuesday, too), I was far below my quota of 4-5 workouts a week. Oops..

So as I was driving to work yesterday morning trying not to slide into a ditch in the Winter Wonderland, I was game planning my own torturous workout for after work. I landed on 800 meter repeats. You see, I ran cross-country in high school. Not well, but I was on the team (there were no tryouts, hence, I “made” the team), and I HATED 800 meter (~1/2 mile) repeats. 800 meter repeats are tough because they’re long enough to tire you out, but short enough that you have to do lots of them — a lose-lose in my book. And just like in high school, running really isn’t my forte… I just like to think it is. Running is, after all, a killer workout. I digress. My planned torture mapped out like so:

2 minute warm-up, walking @ 4 mph
5 minute run @ 6 mph (10 min/mile)
5 minute “recovery” on the elliptical (level 8 of 12)
5 minute run @ 6.5 mph (9:13 min/mile)
5 minute “recovery” on the elliptical (level 7 of 12)
5 minute run @ 7 mph (8:34 min/mile)
5 minute “recovery” on the elliptical (level 7 of 12)
5 minute run @ 7.5 mph (8:00 min/mile)
5 minute “recovery” on the elliptical (level 6 of 12)

Whew! For my 10-11 minute/mile self, this was a killer workout. My 5 minute runs were between 800 and 1000 meters, roughly. While an 8 minute/mile pace is a run for some, it’s more like a sprint for me! My 5’3 frame with my tree trunk-like thighs just don’t run all that quickly. So I kicked my own butt in my workout yesterday and it really did feel great. You know, the once-every-few-months-or-so kind of great, not the I-should-do-this-more-often kind of great! I have totally transitioned into an exercise for health not fitness type of person, and I’m totally okay with that.

Here’s  a few more photos (on my crappy camera) from my prior workout — an ~4 mile hike in Albuquerque. It was gorgeous — 60° F and sunny!

And on to these ever so curious-sounding waffles!

Brown Sugar Bacon Waffles adapted from Jaime Cooks and Chef Mommy

10 slices of nitrate-free turkey bacon
3 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
¼ cup brown sugar
2/3 1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 ½ cups low-fat buttermilk


Preheat oven to 400⁰ F.

Lay the bacon a sheet pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the bacon is really crispy. Dry on paper towels and serve. Place them on a cutting board to cool before chopping. Once cool, chop the bacon into bite size bits and set aside.

Set up your waffle iron on a level, clean surface and turn on to preheat.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and brown sugar. Whisk to blend. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold. Once almost fully incorporated, add the bacon bites. Stir.

Cook according to your waffle machine instructions. Serves 8.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 361 calories; 15.1 g. fat; 123 mg. cholesterol; 768 mg. sodium; 44.3 g. carbohydrate; 2.4 g. fiber; 10.1 g. sugar; 10.3 g. protein

Result: Can I first say that Mr. Prevention thought these waffles sounded gross? I was appauled and shocked all at the same time. My man loves him some turkey bacon, mmkay? Weirdo. These were delicious (and he agreed after getting over himself)! If you’re not jiggy with the idea of bacon in your waffle batter (which you should be, FYI), just omit the bacon and have delicious, fluffy buttermilk waffles. This batter could just as easily be used to make pancakes, so don’t fret if you don’t have a waffle iron. While I tried to make-over the recipe to include some nutrition, the sodium content remained high due to the bacon, baking soda, and baking powder. I will try cutting the baking powder in half next time, I just fear the waffles might lose their beloved fluffiness if I do so. We shall see. I served the waffles with Smart Balance Light mixed with agave nectar in a 2:1 ration – YUM…and then just a drizzle of lower sugar maple syrup, a side of orange sections, and 1 pan-fried egg (fat omitted in frying)…a delicious breakfast for dinner meal. Enjoy! 😀

Question: From the sound of it, thumbs up or thumbs down for bacon waffles?

I’m off today to go Christmas shopping with Gina! 😀 Weee!!!


Filed under breakfast, butter, dinner, exercise, fruits and vegetables, holiday, protein, recipe, reduced-calorie, sodium

Mexican Chicken Casserole & Sprinkle Man’s Delight

Haven’t all these Christmas cookie recipes been fun? I sure think so, anyways! But I have to mix up the sugar high with something comforting, simple, and healthy. A girl cannot should not live on cookies alone (I haven’t been, promise!). I saw this recipe last week and loved the simple ingredient list. Slimmed down recipes that still pack lots of punch are the best! Mmmm!

Mexican Chicken Casserole slightly adapted from Mia Cucina and Cooking Light

1 cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 (4.5-ounce) cans chopped green chiles, divided
1 3/4 pounds  skinned, boned chicken breasts
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup evaporated skim milk
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup (2 ounces) tub-style light cream cheese
1 (10-ounce) can enchilada sauce
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
Cooking spray
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 oz. tortilla chips, crushed (about 6 chips)


Combine broth and 1 can of chiles in a large skillet; bring to a boil. Add chicken; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until chicken is done, turning chicken once. Remove chicken from cooking liquid, reserving cooking liquid; cool chicken. Shred meat with two forks, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 can of chiles and onion; sauté 3 minutes or until soft. Add reserved cooking liquid, milk, Monterey Jack, cream cheese, and enchilada sauce; stir well. Stir in shredded chicken; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Place 4 tortillas in the bottom of a 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Spoon 2 cups chicken mixture over tortillas. Repeat layers twice, ending with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and chips. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

Nutrition Information (per serving – approx. 1 cup): 337 calories; 11.1 g. fat; 74 mg. cholesterol; 604 mg. sodium; 29.5 g. carbohydrate; 5.3 g. sugar; 3.9 g. fiber; 31.4 g. protein

Result: Very good! And very meaty — a lean, high protein, moderate carbohydrate meal. Don’t base the recipe on that photo…it’s not a photogenic casserole. 😉 Mr. Prevention rated it a B+ and I would agree — B+/A-. I served the casserole with fat-free refried beans and steamed corn and it was very filling and high in fiber. I made my dish in a 2 quart round casserole dish which worked fine, but I think I would use an 8×8 or 9×13 next time. Enjoy!


Today’s cookie recipe is the classic Christmas sugar cookie with frosting and sprinkles! 😀

Mr. Prevention was declared Sprinkle Man during this activity. It was the only ounce of help I received during my baking marathon, and it was much appreciated, if only for my enjoyment. He took his job rather seriously and I fount it awfully cute 😉

The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies from and Christmas Cookie Frosting from

For the cookies:
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

For the frosting:
4 cups powdered sugar (1 lb.)
2 egg whites
1/4 (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
food coloring, optional


In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 400° F. Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

For the frosting: Mix all ingredients together until well combined. Stir in food coloring, if desired. Frost cookies after they have cooled completely. Yield: About 5 dozen (my recipe made 57 cookies).

Nutrition Information (per cookie w/ frosting): 148 calories; 5.7 g. fat; 15 mg. cholesterol; 64 mg. sodium; 23 g. carbohydrate; 0 g. fiber; 1.6 g. protein

Result: I didn’t have a tried and true sugar cookie recipe, but this is it. They were fantastic! The recipes makes a lot and the frosting recipe is the exact amount to frost each cookie generously. These are a popular Christmas cookie and I’m glad I made them — always a hit! Who wouldn’t love sprinkles!?

Needless to say, I’m still finding sprinkles in every crevice of my kitchen.

(Tough) Question: Buttercream or cream cheese frosting?

Have a fabulous day!


Filed under butter, Cooking Light, dessert, fiber, healthy cooking, protein, recipe, reduced-calorie, Uncategorized

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

Chocolate Fudge Pomegranate Cookies

I love the weekends. I love bouncing around in my nightie until all hours of the afternoon with nothing on the agenda. Usually that turns into what-can-I-make-with-what’s-on-hand time, and I love that just as much as my nightie. Which is why I bake while in my nightie. Ahhh…I love weekends. Unfortunately for my favorite nightie and I, however, it is stained and torn and just not looking too hot. When Mr. Prevention gave me a once over and chuckled, I knew the nightie would have to be retired. R.I.P. favorite nightie. Hopefully Santa brings me a new one! And then I will adopt apron wearing to preserve my new nightie. 😉

Sob story aside, this recipe sounded amazing…and I just happened to have a pomegranate on hand. Sold!

Chocolate Fudge Pomegranate Cookies adapted from How Sweet It Is

1 cup (2 sticks) butter 50/50 Smart Balance Butter Blend, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar 1 cup sugar + 1/2 cup Splenda granular
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tbsp pomegranate juice
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 3/4 cup pomegranate arils


Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, then pomegranate juice and mix until combined.

Fold in chocolate chips and arils. Refrigerate dough for 2-4 hours (or more). When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350, roll into balls and set on baking sheet.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Let cool completely. Yield: 4 1/2 dozen (54 cookies).

Nutrition Information (per cookie): 77 calories; 4.2 g. fat; 12 mg. cholesterol; 35 mg. sodium; 9.3 g. carbohydrate; 0.9 g. fiber; 0.5 g. protein

Result: These were delicious — the chocolate and pomegranate are a wonderful combination! The cookies are fragile and break easily, but I’m okay with it because I know I altered the recipe a lot. I don’t think the whole wheat flour or the Smart Balance butter was the issue, but possibly the Splenda. I don’t think the recipe needs a whole cup of chocolate chips…they are very chocolaty with the cocoa powder. I am going to take some to work and see what people think; Mr. Prevention does give a thumbs up!


Cassie of A Pinch of This and A Dash of That tagged me to answer her 8 questions.

1.) What is your favorite magazine to read? Cooking Light. I know, I’m sooo predictable 🙂

2.) If you could develop/market a food product, what would it be? An oil lower in calories but still with plenty of healthy fat. I love oil, it adds texture, flavor, and body to cooking and baking, but it’s so darn high in calories!!

3.) Favorite Food Network show? I love Giada’s recipes most, but my favorite Food Network show is Down Home with The Neely’s — they are HILARIOUS!

4.) Clothing item you can’t live without? Hoodies. That was easy!

5.) Favorite thing about where you currently live? Ice-hockey. There are 175 adult hockey leagues and at least 10 sheets of ice around Columbus, I love it!! My team is a lot of fun, and I’m having a blast!

6.) Most memorable birthday? Definitely my 23rd birthday. I was living in Chicago completing my master’s and Mr. Prevention was living and working in Italy. I was napping at my parent’s house in the Lay-Z-Boy and I woke up to someone kissing me on the forehead. I opened my eyes and it was Mark (AKA Mr. P)! You can imagine my surprise, especially since there’s a 9 hour flight between Italy and Chicago! He had planned the surprise with my parent’s help and it was just perfect! We went to the Taste of Chicago and out to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. 🙂

7.) Favorite holiday? This is one of those “favorites” that always changes! I love Christmas, though…the decorations, the music, the family, the food! It’s always a happy time of year!

8.) Where do you see yourself in five years? As a mom or soon-to-be mom (of a 2-legger) and a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE). Outside of that, the sky is the limit!

I tag YOU! Share your responses to the above 8 questions! Copy and paste them into a comment and have at it! I love learning about you all! 🙂

I am working 8 of the next 9 days to flex my schedule in order to make it to Illinois for Thanksgiving. Gotta love not having vacation time when you start a new job 😦 So if I’m not around much, you know why!

P.S. I have a few Q&A questions already, so I will plan another Q&A for later this week. Send your questions to me at! Thank you!! 🙂



Filed under blog topic request, butter, dessert, fruits and vegetables, recipe, reduced-calorie, sugar substitutes, Uncategorized, work