Category Archives: challenge

Chili Contest Winner Announced!

Back in August, when I was all sorts of excited for college football, I am so glad the idea of a chili challenge came to mind. What a blast! Mr. Prevention and I re-sampled each entry which we had stored away in the freezer, and determined the winner.

Thank you to all who submitted chili recipes, they were truly all wonderful!

However, there can only be one winner!

And the winner of the best chili is…Stacey of The Art of Living!

Turkey and Black Bean Chili from The Art of Living

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground skinless turkey
2 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained*
1 (14 ½ oz) can low-sodium diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
2-3 Tbsp regular chili powder
Ancho chili powder, to taste (about 1 tsp)
Chipotle chili powder, to taste (about 1 tsp)
1-1 ½ Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1-2 tsp salt
2% shredded sharp cheddar cheese (2 Tbsp per serving)
fat free low-fat sour cream (1 Tbsp per serving)
sliced scallions, if desired


Heat the oil in a large nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the turkey and cook, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt; bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are very tender, about 45 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Serve with the cheese, sour cream, and scallions. Serves 6 with cheese, sour cream, and scallions.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 406 calories; 13.8 g. fat; 79 mg. cholesterol; 1056 mg. sodium*; 43 g. carbohydrate; 10 g. sugar; 14.5 g. fiber; 32.8 g. protein

*Rinsing and draining canned beans eliminates ~41% of the sodium

In week 5 of the college football season, I made Stacey’s chili. Two girlfriends of mine were in town that weekend and they both gobbled it up. One of those friends happens to be the poster child for the anti-vegetable movement ;), so I think that is quite the compliment to this recipe. I also love that the chili meat was ground turkey because it is exceptionally low in calories and fat. The fiber content was also higher than most other chili recipes at nearly 15 grams per serving! 😀

In a close second was a most unique chili that blended chili and Italian soup called Six Pack Pepper Chili from Our Italian Kitchen. Delicious!

I recommend both of these recipes to wow a chili-loving crowd!

Thank you to all who participated! I hope to do this again next year, and hopefully my Fighting Illini can pull out a winning season…!

Chili love,



Filed under challenge, fiber, friends, fruits and vegetables, recipe, sodium, Uncategorized

Tis better to give than to receive…

Waffle taste test day #1 went so well! I wanted to take pictures, but obviously HIPPA wouldn’t be down with that. And while the patients loved the waffles (staff, too!)…the waffles were not the highlight of my day.

With the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday we used a turkey giveaway reward to encourage patients to have their albumin and phosphorus labs at goal for October and November and not to miss any dialysis treatments during that time. Eight patients of our 97 at the clinic met the challenge and their names were posted on fliers around the clinic congratulating them.

One of the turkey winners came up to me during the taste test and asked that his turkey be given to a patient who does not always have money for food, much less healthy food. I tried to keep from tearing up and was happy to grant the patient’s wish. A little earlier than most years, the holiday bug bit me right then and there. It truly is better to give than it is to receive.


Tortilla Soup from An Edible Mosaic

1 Tbsp canola oil
2 medium onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 3 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1 chicken bouillon cube
3 oz tomato paste
1 (28 oz) can petit diced tomatoes (with juices)
1 cup corn (frozen is fine)
3-4 cup cooked, shredded chicken or turkey (about 1 1/2 lbs)
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 3 Tbsp cold water (called a cornstarch slurry)
1/2 cup to 1 cup minced fresh cilantro (more or less to taste)
Salt and pepper

Crispy Tortilla Strips:
3 small (about 6-inch) soft corn tortillas, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp canola oil


For the soup: In a 5-quart pot with a lid, heat the oil on medium heat; add the onion and sauté until starting to soften (about 5-7 minutes), stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and jalapeno pepper and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute), stirring constantly.  Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes, and bay leaf and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Add 5 cups water along with the bouillon cube, tomato paste, and diced tomatoes.  Bring the soup up to a boil, then add the corn, cover the pot, and simmer 15 minutes (stirring occasionally).

Preheat the oven to 425° F.  Toss the tortilla strips with the oil, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until golden (about 5-7 minutes), giving them a stir every couple minutes so they don’t burn.

To the soup, add the cooked chicken or turkey and the beans and cook 3 minutes.  Add the cornstarch slurry, bring it up to a boil, and let it boil for 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat, add the cilantro, and season with salt and pepper.  Serve garnished with toppings of your choice (lime, scallions, Greek yogurt, tortilla chips, cheese, avocado, etc.). Serves 8.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 272 calories; 5.3 g. fat; 41 mg. cholesterol; 377 mg. sodium; 36.6 g. carbohydrate; 5.9 g. fiber; 26.4 g. protein

Result: Simple and delicious…and super duper healthy! The ingredient list looks long, but it’s all ingredients most cooks have on hand. The only change I would make would be using low-sodium chicken broth in place of the 5 cups of water + 1 bouillon cube. The sodium content is nice and low, but I think a bit more flavor would help the base of the soup. Another jalapeno, too…we like spicy! I did add a bit more cumin…I just couldn’t stop at 1 1/2 teaspoons, cumin is a favorite spice of mine and it’s hard to use too much. Enjoy! 😀

Question: Do you like pecan pie? Or do you prefer pumpkin?

I am a pecan pie girl, which Cooking Light reminded me is one of the least healthy holiday pie selections. Oh well, Thanksgiving only comes once a year!

Tis the season,


Filed under carb-controlled, challenge, Cooking Light, dialysis & kidney disease, dinner, fiber, fruits and vegetables, garlic, healthy cooking, herbs, holiday, low-carb, recipe, sodium, Uncategorized, water, work

trick or treat?

Happy Halloween! 😀

Pup-A-Ween at the dog park was HILARIOUS! There was, indeed, bobbing for hot dogs! And a costume contest! Check it out:

Lily is ready to go! How cute is that tushie?

Everyone was dressed up!

Mini Me!

There were stations set up for bobbing for hot dogs. Do you see them in there?! Some dogs just didn’t get it (like Lily) and others went to TOWN! It was hilarious! I was too busy laughing to catch any great pictures, sorry!

“I smell them, mommy…how do I GET them!?”

Lily napped the remainder of the day, ha!


As for me, I tricked myself into a workout. I put it off all morning…I was making chili and watching college football, after all. Those 2 activities always take precedence in the Prevention household! And then we had Pup-A-Ween and by 4pm I had lost motivation to workout. I said to myself, “You had 4 miles planned. If you get up now, you can do 4 miles. But for every hour you procrastinate, add a mile.” I ended up treking down to the treadmill at 5:10pm and ran a sluggish 5 miles. I felt good, just wasn’t in the mood to push it 😉 But I TRICKED myself into that workout!

…instead of enjoying treats.

…Because I promised no candy until Halloween which has been fine, until my kitchen table looked like this in preparation for tonight’s trick-or-treaters:

Oy! The last 24 hours have been oh so difficult, but…I DID IT! I also pinky swore with a patient of mine, and I can’t let him down. His blood sugars were outrageously high and in talking to him I learned it was because he had Halloween candy laying around. I told him the deal I had made with myself, and he wanted in. We pinky swore on it! And, his blood sugars look AWESOME!

Question: What is one candy you DON’T like?

Our staff wanted to put together little Halloween goodie bags for our patients (it’s the little things in life, right?) and they asked me what the patients could have. Unfortunately, chocolate, caramel, and nuts are all no-no’s for our kidney patients and so that leaves the fruity, chewy candy like Starbursts, Skittles, gummy bears, etc. The staff were in agreement that those were their least favorite candies, and I agree. I want the chocolate!

Have a spoooky day!


Filed under blood glucose, challenge, diabetes, dialysis & kidney disease, dog, exercise, pets, physical activity, running, self-control, sleep

fall means roast in the crock pot to me…you?

It’s rare I go to the grocery store and purchase a several pound piece of meat (i.e. beef, pork, whole chicken, etc.) — it intimidates me. And call me crazy, but I’ve never been a huge fan of touching raw meat…it kinda takes away from my enjoying the final product. But, I like meat and sometimes that means buying and handling large hunks of meat. And I don’t know about you, but something about fall makes me want a roast in the crock pot all day long getting nice and tender. Which lead me to this recipe, and it did not disappoint!

Slow Cooker Char Siu Pork Roast from Cooking Light

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 Tbsp ketchup
3 Tbsp honey
2 tsp bottled minced garlic
2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1/2 tsp five-spice powder
2  pounds boneless Boston butt pork roast, trimmed
1/2 cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth


Combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Place in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add pork to bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator at least 2 hours, turning occasionally.

Place pork and marinade in an electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8-12 hours.

Remove pork from slow cooker using a slotted spoon; place on a cutting board or work surface. Cover with aluminum foil; keep warm.

Add broth to sauce in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes or until sauce thickens. Shred pork with 2 forks; serve with sauce. Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 3 ounces pork and 1/4 cup sauce).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 227 calories; 73 mg. cholesterol; 561 mg. sodium; 9.5 g. fat; 12.7 g. carbohydrate; 0.4 g. fiber; 21.6 g. protein

Result: This recipe was easy and delicious! The recipe called for 8 hours of  cooking on low, but I was gone at least 12 hours today and the roast was just fine. It literally FELL apart, no shredding required. I struggled with what to serve with the pork and I landed on fresh bread and an arugula salad…a very simple, flavorful, and easy fall meal. 😀 Mr. P really liked this recipe, too. He compared it to BBQ pulled pork (silly man…) and proceeded to slather about 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce on his meat, but whatever. I found it to be juicy and PLENTY moist and flavorful. Mr. P tends to ruin any flavor with condiments, but I try to refrain from stopping him! I am just glad it wasn’t buffalo wing sauce *eye roll*


Thank you for all of your kind words about my migraine. I forgot to mention how I called the Walgreens pharmacist MY HERO as he handed over my migraine medicine. Ends up, I didn’t have a script to refill and he found an “emergency dose script” in an old order (???). I’ve never heard of this before, but I wasn’t going to questing anything with that debilitating migraine…it was everything in me not to beg, plead, and cry for the meds. And if I’m being truthful, there were tears…it was THAT bad. BUT, alas, I was a new woman yesterday morning…and I feel great! For anyone who suffers from migraines, you all the empathy in the world coming from me!

My first upper body strength workout went well…but slightly torturous, not going to lie. It was tough, but in a good way. I hope I can keep it up! And in response to a few emails, I am still candy-free!  Thanks for keeping me motivated, folks! 😀

Question: What was your best ever Halloween costume?

I think mine was as a bee in college. I remember “stinging” quite a few young men and having a lot of fun!

P.S. Keep your eyes peeled for some information on my private practice nutrition company! We got some exciting news today and I’m anxious to share…just waiting for our website to launch and then I’ll spill all!! 😀

Have a spoooky day,


Filed under challenge, condiments, Cooking Light, crock pot, dietitians, dinner, doctors, exercise, healthy cooking, low-carb, physical activity, prescription drug, protein, recipe, salad, work

amazing muffins & my strength training plan

Healthy Pumpkin Banana Muffins adapted from

1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup wheat bran
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 overly ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp pumpkin puree
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup walnut pieces


Preheat oven to 350º F and line a muffin tin with liners, or grease individual cups.

Mix flour, oats, bran, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices together in a large bowl. Whisk until combined.

In a medium bowl, combine sugars, bananas, applesauce, pumpkin, and eggs. Mix the wet and dry ingredients, just until combined. Fold in walnuts.

Fill muffin cups 3/4ths full. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Yield: 15 large muffins.

Nutrition Information (per muffin): 175 calories; 4.3 g. fat; 29 mg. cholesterol; 241 mg. sodium; 32 g. carbohydrate; 3.5 g. fiber; 16.7 g. sugar; 2.3 g. protein

Result: If I’m being honest, these were the best muffins I’ve made to date…and I’ve made a lot of muffins. I’ve never heard of such a combination…banana and pumpkin, but between my craving for banana-nut something and my plentiful stocks of pumpkin, a Google search produced this match made in heaven. Anyways, the muffins were big, moist, nutritious & delicious. THE Perfect Muffin? I’m going with a yea! Edit: Mr. P walked in the door yesterday and said, “Those muffins were awesome…what kind were they?!” 😀


If you tuned in over the weekend, I confessed to NOT lifting weights or doing any form of strength training. Shame on me!! It shows, trust me! My once toned and athletic arms are looking more like a winged bat these days. Not okay!

We are lucky enough to have a home gym in our basement. Nothing fancy, but a treadmill in front of a TV hooked up with a DVR is a pretty beautiful thing. We’ve had our treadmill for nearly a year and I can honestly say that both of us use it several times a week, year-round. We also have a yoga mat, stability ball, Gym-in-a-Bag, hand weights (5# and 8#) and as of today, a mini stability ball and a 6# medicine ball. I. Am. Ready!

What helps keep me motivated with running is recording my workouts. That way, I can see progress…and lack thereof.

Last week there were a lot of “sick :(” notes on the days of the week I didn’t exercise. Typically, days read “hockey” or “X miles”, so I can easily track when and what I did. Obviously that’s working just great for cardio, but for weights I needed a new plan of action.

Enter printer paper, 15 minutes, and some markers:

Lower and upped body lifting routines. I’ll share the details tomorrow, but my GOAL is:

Lift upper body 1 day/week
Lift lower body 1 day/week
Upper & lower body 1 day/week

I reserve the right to change this up 😉 But this is what I’m going to attempt for the next few weeks and then reassess. Wish me luck (ugh!!)!

Questions: What keeps you motivated when it comes to exercise? And, what’s YOUR favorite muffin variety?

Have a super week!


Filed under breakfast, challenge, exercise, hockey, physical activity, recipe, running, Uncategorized

Chili Contest: Entry 4 (+ Cranberry Nut Loaf)

I’m a bit behind this week after my weekend in Illinois, sorry! This week I made White Chicken Chili, the 4th entry into the Prevention Chili Contest! I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I’ve never had, much less made, white chicken chili despite all the raves. My loss…yum! 😀

White Chicken Chili from Healthy Food for Living, originally from Monkey See, Monkey Do…

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion, about 1 medium
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried coriander
2 (4 oz) cans chopped green chiles
3 cans Northern beans, drained but not rinsed
3 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
2-3 cups chopped, skinless rotisserie chicken (I used 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked & shredded)
1 Tbsp jalapeno hot sauce (such as Tobasco), plus more if desired
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Cilantro, chopped, for garnish
8 Tbsp 2% plain Greek yogurt, for garnish (1 Tbsp per serving)
1 lime, cut into wedges, for garnish (1 wedge per serving)


Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add in the cumin, oregano, coriander, and green chiles. Saute for 30 seconds.

Add beans and chicken stock to pot, bring to a boil. Add in the chicken and hot sauce. Reduce stove heat to low, cover pot, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, as well as extra hot sauce if desired.

Serve with fresh cilantro, Greek yogurt, and a squeeze of lime juice. Serves 8.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 213 calories; 3.3 g. fat; 43 mg. sodium; 812 mg. sodium*; 28.8 g. carbohydrate; 1.5 g. sugar; 8.6 g. fiber; 22 g. protein

*Beans are drained, so the sodium content is less than it calculated to…I just don’t know how much less.

Result: YUMMM-EEE!! Mr. P and I both give this a huge thumbs up! Again, a very unique and non-traditional chili recipe…but a winner! I was surprised how such simple ingredients combined for such a flavorful result! I have a feeling my mom is going to make this recipe because it’s 1) very easy, 2) very healthy, and 3) contains Northern beans. Mom, am I right?! 🙂 I am very glad to no longer be living life without having tried White Chicken Chili…DELICIOUS!

And if White Chicken Chili wasn’t enough deliciousness for one post, here’s a perfect fall bread that I’ve been enjoying for breakfast!

Cranberry Nut Loaf from Cathy’s Kitchen Journey adapted from Simply in Season

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup ground flax seed meal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1 egg
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup oil
zest of one orange
1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped (I used frozen)
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans (divided) (I used walnuts)


Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan.

In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients: flour through salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix together wet ingredients: egg through vanilla, until combined. Add dry ingredients to wet.

Fold in cranberries and half the nuts. Pour batter in the prepared pan. Top with remaining nuts. Bake in preheated oven for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert and remove from pan, allow to cool completely before slicing. Yield: 8 large slices.

Nutrition Information (per slice): 321 calories; 13.5 g. fat; 27 mg. cholesterol; 306 mg. sodium; 47.9 g. carbohydrate; 22 g. sugar; 4.1 g. fiber; 6.6 g. protein

Result: This recipe is filling and delicious. I love the tart of the cranberries and the crunch of the walnuts, with a hint of sweet. Mr. P liked this bread, but he seems to be on a pumpkin kick lately himself and says he preferred last week’s pumpkin bread. But, nonetheless, a thumbs up from the both of us!

Question: Do you prefer white or dark poultry meat?

I ask because Pioneer Woman’s White Chili recipe calls for the dark meat because she prefers it, but I MUCH prefer white meat.

P.S. Lily is doing well…thanks for all the thought & prayers for our baby girl!

Lots of love,


Filed under breakfast, challenge, dinner, dog, fiber, flax, garlic, guilt-free, healthy cooking, herbs, pets, recipe, sodium

Cauliflower, Sweet Potato, and Chickpea Curry

Last weekend, I thumbed through my Cooking Light and excitedly yanked pages from the binding that caught my eye. Is this considered a hobby? Because it brings me a lot of enjoyment. Of course more recipes than not ended up torn out, but that’s the fun in it! 😉 I handed Mr. Prevention the stack of recipes and told him to pick 3 for this week’s menu. Side note: Men like to be included in decisions like dinner…and if you give them a choice and you go with it, they’ll be all the happier. Of course, you get what you want, too, because if you recall, you choose the recipes that you hand to him. See how this works? A little reverse psychology…or something like that. Anyways, Mr. P chose a curry recipe similar to the one below. Except Cooking Light’s recipe looked REALLY boring. Have I butchered this story enough already? I thought so. Here’s what we ended up with…

Cauliflower, Sweet Potato, and Chickpea Curry inspired by Perfect Indian Cookbook

4 Tbsp canola oil
2 onions, finely chopped
1 tsp Chinese five-spice mix
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
3 (6-ounce) sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 fresh green chilies, seeded and diced
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated + 2 drops of water (combine to form a paste)
2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground tumeric
1/2 tsp chili powder
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 cups fresh or frozen peas
1 cup dried chickpeas
1/4 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 tsp garam masala (recipe below)
fresh cilantro, for garnish
1 cup basmati rice, dry, cooked according to directions
1/4 cup cashew halves


Soak chickpeas in water overnight.

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onions and five-spice; mix and cook on low heat, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes or until onions are golden and soft. Add the cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and chilies; cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.

Stir in the ginger, paprika, cumin, tumeric, and chili powder. Cook for 3 minutes and mix to combine spices throughout. Add the tomatoes, peas, and chickpeas. Stir in the yogurt and stock. Season with pepper, if desired. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes, or until potatoes and cauliflower are tender.

Meanwhile, prepare the rice according to the directions, omitting added fat and salt.

Sprinkle with garam masala. Plate rice with curry over top, garnish with cashews and cilantro. Serves 5.

Nutrition Information (per serving, with rice): 587 calories; 18.8 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 159 mg. sodium; 91 g. carbohydrate; 15.2 g. fiber; 19.8 g. protein

Result: We liked this dish a lot. Mr. P was disappointed there was no meat (did he not review the recipe before putting it on the menu?!), but I enjoyed the vegetarian meal. I do wish the carbohydrates were lower, but the portion is huge…I didn’t eat it all at that meal or as leftovers. If you love veggies and curry, you will love this dish!

If you’re like myself and have most every spice under the sun except garam masala, you can make it!

Garam Masala

1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg


Measure and combine spices. Store in a sealed container.


Mr. Prevention, Lily, and I are packing up and heading to Champaign, Illinois for the Illinois vs. Ohio State game this weekend. I am PUMPED! This game has been long awaited and we have lots of friends who are coming in for the game. I’ll try to check in, but no promises! It’s going to be a whirlwind weekend! But first…a quick run before we get on the road! 😀

I will plan make this week’s chili on Monday to stay on track with the Prevention Chili Contest!

Question: What are you up to this weekend? And just for fun: Illinois or OSU victory? 😉



Filed under carbohydrates, challenge, Cooking Light, dinner, fiber, fruits and vegetables, healthy cooking, meat consumption, pets, recipe, running, travel, Uncategorized, vegetarian