Category Archives: friends

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Happy Thursday!

Gina and I had a blast yesterday — we shopped for Christmas gifts, went to Trader Joe’s, and ate lunch at an organic, vegan/vegetarian-focused restaurant called Northstar Cafe. It was excellent — I had a brown rice, vegetable, and tofu bowl with a tangy peanut sauce…yum! It’s always fun to meet with Gina because we have so much in common between being dietitians and bloggers. Our conversations are endless about work, nutrition, blogs, and everything in’s fun! Thanks, Gina! 😀

After a day of play, it’s hard to get back to work mid-week. Maybe a goofy Lily picture will make your Thursday a bit happier…it did mine!

Speaking of my Lily, I stopped by to check out a new doggy daycare that’s really close to our house. It’s ADORABLE! The dogs have little houses (think tree house-sized) and they have toddler beds with bedding, pillows and all. Each little house is decorated in its own theme, and the dogs have a “living room” where there’s a TV and couches for them to lay on. Lily has a date to go play next Thursday…I know she’ll have a blast 🙂 The things we do for our pets, right?

Ohio has been bitter cold and there is no end in sight. All I want is soup — warm, comforting soup. Mmmm for the BRRR!!

Please note I took about 983 photos of this soup and they were all terrible. It is not pretty, but it is GOOD!

Spicy Black Bean Soup as seen on The Novice Chef, adapted from Little Miss Foodie Two Shoes &

2 tsp olive oil
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 2 fresh jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
2 (15-ounces) cans black beans, 1 drained and rinsed, 1 with liquid
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 bay leaf
4 green onions, chopped, for garnish


Heat oil in a 4-to 5-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat, then sauté onion, garlic, and jalapeño with chili powder, cumin, and oregano until onion is beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add beans, stock/broth, and bay leaf and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until soup has thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.

Transfer about 1 cup soup to a blender and purée (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return to pot and reheat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Discard bay leaf. Season with salt if desired. Add green onion for garnish. Yields 4 entree-sized servings.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 244 calories; 4.1 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 495 mg. sodium; 39.7 g. carbohydrate; 13.8 g. fiber; 2 g. sugar; 14 g. protein

Result: This soup was fabulous — if you love black beans, that is! I loved the spicy kick and am glad I opted to rev up the recipe with an additional jalapeno pepper. It was spicy, but not unbearable for those who aren’t into super spicy. It was also a dinner that can be prepped ahead of time and come together in 20 minutes or less. Even if you don’t prep ahead of time, you’re looking at 25-30 minutes — definitely reasonable, and the leftovers are perfect for lunch! I love the fiber content of the soup — 14 grams per serving!! It’s also low in calories and fat, and the sodium content is skimmed down by draining and rinsing 1 of the cans of beans and using low-sodium broth/stock. The recipe can also be made vegan and vegetarian by using vegetable broth in place of chicken. Enjoy!

Trivia Question: What percentage cocoa solids must chocolate contain to be legally called chocolate?

a. 99%
b. 50%
c. 35%
Keep warm and eat your fiber!



Filed under blog, dietitians, dining out, dinner, fiber, friends, garlic, healthy cooking, recipe, restaurant, sodium, vegan, vegetarian, work

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

Chili Contest: Entry 6

Gooood morning! I hope you are enjoying a wonderful weekend!

Friday night with Gina and Nick was a blast! We went to Gina’s work at Market District in Columbus and It. Was. Packed! I settled on a salad and a spicy coconut chicken curry that I think Mr. Prevention ended up eating most of ;). It was good but VERY spicy, even for me! I didn’t take any pictures, sorry! But if you’re in the Columbus area, be sure to check Market District out. I’m not even sure how to describe it any better than a foodie’s dream come true. They have just about everything and anything in one location and it’s all so fresh!!

Our Saturday was status quo – chili and college football! I wouldn’t have it any other way. Our beloved Illini pulled out a nice win, so we were happy to see that! We went for a walk with Lily, meal planned for the week, and Mr. Prevention surprised me with a reservation to a restaurant I’ve been wanting to try. It was delicious! 😀 …and très romantique! Ooo la la! 😉

I strongly considered struggling through a workout yesterday, but decided against it. I pushed through a run on Friday and I am still SO sore from my upper body routine. I plan to do lower body + my hockey game tomorrow. I never would’ve imagined getting back into a strength groove would be this painful! Oy!

The Best Turkey Chili from Bella’s Bistro

1.5 lb. ground turkey
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 cans reduced-sodium tomato soup
1 can pink beans (I used pinto)
2 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to taste
Sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onions, etc. for toppings*


Finely dice peppers and onion.  Add to a large pot with olive oil.  Saute until just cooked – about 6 minutes.

Add turkey and brown completely.  Drain off any excess fat.

Add garlic and stir to combine.

Next, add the soup, seasonings and beans along with 2 cans of water.  Stir to combine completely.

Simmer on low for 45 minutes with the cover on. Remove cover and cook an additional 20-30 minutes to thicken. Serves 6.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 333 calories; 3.8 g. fat; 70 mg. cholesterol; 1013 mg. sodium; 43 g. carbohydrate; 8.2 g. fiber; 35.2 g. protein

*Toppings not included in nutrition information

Result: Mr. Prevention and I both really liked this chili…it hit the spot! If I were to make it again, I would omit the water and just add 2 cans of soup…it was more like a chili soup and I do prefer a heartier soup. Plus, that would help lower the sodium content quite a bit. Overall, it was good, had some spice with the cayenne, and it was healthy, albeit high in sodium (all chili recipes thus far are…it’s hard to reduce)!

Question: What brand of gym shoes do you wear?

Just curious! I am loyal to Asics…they fit my fat feet like a glove! 😉


Filed under dining out, exercise, friends, fruits and vegetables, garlic, grocery store, recipe, restaurant, salad

Pumpkin Butter & Pumpkin Spiced Lattes

Such a fun weekend! I can’t believe tomorrow is back to the grind already. 😦 Between 2:30am nights out and a late hockey game tonight, I am definitely going to be starting the work week in sleep deprivation mode…totally worth it 😉

Last week I made Gina’s pumpkin butter. I’ve been wanting to make pumpkin butter (best oatmeal mix-in ever, by the way), but the sugar content of most recipes scared me a way. Gina must have read my mind because a lower sugar recipe of hers popped into my inbox last week. Mucho gracias!

Pumpkin Butter from Gina’s Weight Watchers Recipes

3 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, or 1 (29 ounce) can
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup apple cider or juice
1 cup packed brown sugar
2-3 cinnamon sticks
1-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (to taste)


Combine pureed pumpkin, vanilla, apple juice, spices, cinnamon sticks and sugar in a large saucepan; stir well. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently. Adjust spices to your taste. Serves 14 (about 1/4 cup each)

Nutrition Information (per serving): 88 calories; 0.3 g. fat; 27.3 g. carbohydrate; 2.5 g. fiber; 1.0 g. protein

Result: Very good! Not the BEST pumpkin butter ever, but that’s because there’s less sugar than pumpkin unlike many recipes 😉 It is very easy to make and goes great in oatmeal, on toast, and in lattes (keep reading!).

And a creative way to use pumpkin butter…

Pumpkin Spiced Latte adapted from Gina’s Weight Watchers Recipe

1 1/2 cups fat free milk
2 tbsp pumpkin butter (recipe above)2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup of espresso or 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
fat free whipped topping
pumpkin pie spice for topping


In a small pan combine milk, pumpkin butter, coffee, pumpkin pie spice and sugar and cook on medium heat, stirring, until boiling. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Using an immersion blender, Blend until smooth with a wire whisk. Pour into 2 mugs and top with pumpkin pie spice, if desired. Serves 2 (8 ounces each)

Nutrition Information (per serving): 98 calories; 0 g. fat; 4 mg. cholesterol; 92 mg. sodium; 19.5 g. carbohydrate; 18.5 g. sugar; 6 g. protein

Result: Delicious! These lattes do not need the whipped topping! If you order a 8 ounce Starbucks Pumpkin Spiced Latte made with non-fat milk and no whipped topping, it runs 130 calories. Making the homemade version is therefore healthier and lighter on the pocket book!

Question: What’s your coffee order from Starbucks?

Hope it’s as gorgeous there as it is here…86 and sunny!! 😀



Filed under coffee, friends, hockey, recipe, reduced-calorie

beware of the fair’s fare!


Mr. P’s birthday was fun! We ended up going to the fair with some friends and I tried my first fried Oreo. As apprehensive as I was to take that first bite, boy am I sure glad I did…they are delicious! They’re hard to describe, but are something like a chocolate-filled donut hole. I’m glad we opted to split an order — one for each of us! That’s called damage control! Good thing fairs are a once-a-year deal!! 😉 And it’s probably not all too surprising that Mr. P wanted Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. I’m beginning to NOT enjoy anything involving buffalo sauce!

Nutty Fruit Bars adapted from Anja’s Food 4 Thought

1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup dried dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup dried figs, roughly chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup raw pepitas pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (I used 1 Tbsp flax seeds + 3 Tbsp pistachios)
1/2 cup dried, unsweetened coconut


Preheat oven to 300° F. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pour fruit juice over dates and let soak for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place nuts, apricots (or your fruit of choice), and figs in a food processor and pulse a few times until coarsely chopped. Add dates with orange juice and pulse until mixture starts to stick together. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Add cranberries, coconut and seeds, kneading the batter until all is well incorporated.

Use the prepared baking sheet as surface and fill large cookie cutters with the batter. Gently remove the cutter to keep the bars in shape. Repeat until all batter is used up.

Bake 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Yield: 11 bars.

Nutrition Information (per bar): 236 calories; 17.5 g. fat; 56 mg. cholesterol; 102 mg. sodium; 18.3 g. carbohydrate; 10.8 g. sugar; 5.1 g. fiber; 5.4 g. protein

Result: These are a breakfast or snack DELIGHT! They are loaded with nutrition — fiber, mono and polyunsaturated fats, low in sodium….yum! I am a huge fan…and they are very simple to make. I may add in 1 tablespoon of agave or honey next time to just help them hold together a BIT more…but they are decadent! And like I said, nutritionally, they’re an A++!


My business partners and I are meeting this morning to make some major head-way on our WEBSITE! That’s right, in less than 2 weeks Mid Ohio Nutrition Specialists (that’s us!) will be up and running on the web. We’ve got a pitch to a group of docs on October 18th and another pitch to prepare for a group of 11 nephrologists in Columbus. We need to bring our A-game! Exciting stuff!!

Question: What’s the weirdest or best deep-fried food you’ve ever had?

P.S. Pumpkin pie spice contains: cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg! Several of you got it right…not that I’m surprised! But I honestly had no idea…learn something new every day!

P.P.S. My Pumpkin Lasagna photo was on Foodgawker yesterday…awesome!! 😀 First submission and a home run! I was flattered!

P.P.P.S. My friend Erica is giving away a prep bowl set! Be sure to enter to win!

P.P.P.P.S. Stop by tomorrow for a giveaway!

Enough P.S.’s? I think so…ciao!



Filed under breakfast, carb-controlled, dietitians, dining out, dinner, dog, festival, fiber, flax, fried food, friends, healthy cooking, marriage, MUFAs and PUFAs, pets, recipe, saturated fat, self-control, snack, sodium, trans fat, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian

Chili Contest!


College football kicks off in less than 3 WEEKS!!!!!!! Obviously, I’m pumped! It’s hard not to be when you’re an Illini fan in Buckeye Country! 😉

There’s nothing that screams football season better than chili…and Mr. Prevention and I really like chili! But after being introduced to our friend’s amazing chili recipe a few years ago, we haven’t branched out to try new ones. So that’s where the contest comes in. If you have an amazing chili recipe, an original or simply one you love, please send it to me at I am going to accept the first 12 recipes and aim to try a new one every weekend during football season.

I do ask that the recipes are relatively healthy. So long as the beef is lean and the sodium content isn’t outrageous, there’s not too much unhealthy about chili.

Mr. Prevention and I will take careful notes on each recipe — what we liked, what we didn’t, etc. I will post each week what we thought of that week’s recipe, along with the nutrition facts. At the end of the season, we will choose a winner! That winner can choose any cookie or muffin recipe I’ve made and I will send them some homemade baked goods just in time for the holidays! Last football game is December 3rd, after all!

I will accept entries until I reach 12 recipes.

Question: In your chili do you prefer more meat, beans, vegetables, or something else? What college football team do you root for?

I love meaty, tomato-y chili…but I’m yet to find a chili I don’t love! I can’t wait to try your chili recipes!

First and 10,


Filed under challenge, friends, Giveaway, recipe, Uncategorized

motivated by money

I talked a little bit about what I’ll be doing as a renal dietitian, but I didn’t mention that I am responsible for improving very poor lab values in my patients. In dialysis, dietitians most closely monitor albumin, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and parathyroid hormone (PTH). And most importantly, low albumin levels correlate with increased risk of mortality and morbidity. Not good. I walked into a rather bleak situation and it’s 100% on me to turn this around. Pressssure!!

Because everyone loves “free” money and winning, I created a little competition for our patients. Every month, after labs are drawn, patients can earn chances to win Kroger gift cards that they can use on medications, food, or gas. Patients get 1 entry for every criteria they meet: albumin within range, potassium within range, phosphorus within range, and NO missed treatments. If they are able to meet all 4 criteria, they get 2 extra entries.

And in order to increase long-term compliance with medications and diet, this competition will be on going each month, with 4 winners each month. I hope it works! Or at least helps 🙂

I’ve also requested the clinic to purchase protein supplements for our patients who need the added nutrition. Most of the malnourished patients find protein supplements to either be too expensive or not palatable. And because of strict potassium, phosphorus, and fluid restrictions, not just any protein supplement is appropriate. After doing some research and speaking with drug reps, I chose LiquaCel for my patients. This is a product previously unfamiliar to me, but it is gaining popularity quickly among the protein malnourished populations. After tasting samples I can confirm that this stuff is DELICIOUS! And just 1 ounce provides 16 grams of protein — perfect!

Quesiton: What’s the last challenging situation you were in at school, work, or otherwise? Do you like to be challenged or does it push you out of your comfort zone?

I have to admit, I’m a bit out of my comfort zone on this one. Especially since I have to stand before a committee next Wednesday and give evidence as to what steps I’m taking in order to remedy our patient’s poor nutrition statuses. 😦

Or on a lighter note…anything fun planned for the weekend?? 😀

I am meeting Gina tonight for dinner and drinks! We got together back in June, and I’ve been anxious to hangout again! And now that we’re in Columbus for good, that will be much more doable 😉 We both have new jobs and I’m sure we’ll gab on and on about dietetics…especially since we’re leaving the guys at home! 😉



Filed under dialysis & kidney disease, dietitians, dining out, friends, protein, supplements, volumetrics, water, work