Category Archives: self-control

A Snickerdoodle Confession, a Problem, and 2009’s Favorite Cookie

I have a confession.

After reading that several of you were going to make the life-changing maple snickerdoodles last night, I got insanely jealous. Because, generous and silly me gave away ALL of the maple snickerdoodles I made last weekend. Besides, I had all the ingredients on hand 😉 Somehow, some way, I limited myself to 2 maple snickerdoodles and pulled out a grueling 50 minutes on the elliptical last night. In: 158 calories…Out: 434 calories. Victorious.

Maple Snickerdoodles

But that’s not where this story ends. The baking bug bit me for the third time this season and after maple snickerdoodles, I made Chocolate Truffles. Oops.

Chocolate Truffles adapted from Tartine Cookbook, seen on A Chow Life

1 lb. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
5 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup cocoa powder (substitute with topping of your choice e.g. crushed nuts, grated coconut)


Place the chocolate in a heatproof mixing bowl.  In a small saucepan, combine the cream and corn syrup and heat to just under a boil.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Allow it to sit for a minute or two.  Stir with a rubber spatula in a circular motion until the chocolate melts. Add the butter and stir until it is incorporated.  Let the mixture firm up in a cool place 0r place in the refrigerator to speed the process.

Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Place small spoonfuls of the batter on the parchment. Roll each piece between your palms into an irregularly shaped truffle and then roll between your palms.  Once the truffles are shaped, place the cocoa powder in a shallow bowl or small pile and roll each truffle in the cocoa coating evenly. The truffles will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. Yield: 55 small truffles.

Nutrition Information (per truffle): 61 calories; 5 g. fat; 4 mg. cholesterol; 2 mg. sodium; 4.7 g. carbohydrate; 0.8 g. fiber; 0.6 g. protein

Result: So rich, creamy, and delicious! Truffles intimidated me, but not anymore! The original recipe involved a pastry bag and whole bunch of (in my opinion) unnecessary steps. These were quick and easy and certainly impressive without too much effort or time. I also used bittersweet chocolate for the first time and it is amazing. I went for the Ghirardelli and mmm mmm mmmm!! Enjoy!

New totals — +2 truffles. 280 calories in goodies consumed and 434 burned. Good thing dinner was a mere 200 calories of chicken noodle soup and raw veggies!!

And lastly, 2009’s favorite holiday cookie: Chocolate & Peppermint Bark Cookies!

Chocolate & Peppermint Bark Cookies from Cookin’ Canuck

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
6 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red & white candies or candy canes (about 3 ounces)
2 oz. high-quality white chocolate


Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with cooking spray and line the bottom of the pan with parchment, letting it hang over the sides of the pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a mixer, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in sugar. Continue to beat for an additional 3 minutes, until the mixture is light and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla extract and egg yolk. Turn the mixer to low speed and gradually beat in the flour mixture, until just combined. Do not overmix.

Scatter the dough over the bottom of the prepared pan and gently press it, with slightly moistened fingers, to form a flat layer. Prick all over with a fork.

Bake the cookie layer until golden brown and slightly puffed, and edges are beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, 25-30 minutes. Place on a cookie rack and immediately sprinkle chopped bittersweet or semisweet (or a combination of the two) over the cookie layer. Let the chocolate sit for about 3 minutes. Using an offset spatula, spread the chocolate into an even layer over the surface of the cookies. Immediately sprinkle 3 ounces crushed red and white peppermint candies, or candy canes, over the chocolate layer.

Place chopped white chocolate in a medium metal bowl set over a simmering pot of water. Stir constantly until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Using a fork, drizzle the white chocolate over the peppermint candies. Chill for approximately 30 minutes.

Gripping the overhanging parchment paper, lift the cookies out of the pan and place on a work surface. Using a large, sharp knife, cut the cookies into irregular pieces (I made triangles). Yield: 40 pieces.

Nutrition Information (per piece): 115 calories; 6.1 g. fat; 5 mg. cholesterol; 18 mg. sodium; 15 g. carbohydrate; 0 g. fiber; 0.7 g. protein

Result: Like I mentioned already, these were last year’s favorite holiday cookie. Co-workers, too, raved about these cookies. They combine a sugar cookie bottom and a peppermint bark-like top. What’s not to love?! These are a bit more labor intensive, but worth the added effort! And they are stunning as a gift or on a cookie platter — they just LOOK like Christmas! Enjoy!

Whew. You’d think I would be sick of sweets, but I’m not. I’ve never loved baking before and now, I can’t get enough of it! Scary!!! Ohio is frigid and baking in my warm kitchen just hits the spot…problem! Why don’t roasted veggie recipes appeal to me like baking? 😉

Mr. Prevention and I are off to Albuquerque this weekend to visit friends — I’ve never been to New Mexico! I have decided to leave my laptop at home and unplug for the weekend. It will give me lots of time on our flights to focus on going through curriculum for the nutrition class I’ll be teaching in a few weeks and maybe even finish the book I started 4 months ago! And when a computer is around, I can be far from productive!

Question: What’s one US state you haven’t been to but want to visit? What US state is your favorite?

P.S. Happy 28th wedding anniversary to my mom and dad!! XOXO!



Filed under dessert, exercise, recipe, self-control, travel

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

Chili Contest: Entry 9 + Crab Queso Dip

While the Illini loss was nothing short of TORTUROUS :(…it didn’t phase Lily. This dog is a SUN GODDESS! She will nap in the sun for hours and even when she’s indoors, she plops down where the sun is shining in. She barely moved from 10am to 7pm. LAY-Z!!

But yes, tough losses all around for the Big 10…thank goodness the food was good, at least!

Best Buffalo Chicken Chili from My Bizzy Kitchen

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 large carrots
3 stalks celery
1 large red pepper
5 cloves of garlic
5 Tbsp of chili powder
2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp paprika
1/2 cup Frank’s Hot Moore’s Wing Sauce
2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 (15 oz) diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) black beans, drained
1 (15 oz) chili beans in sauce (do not drain)
salt and pepper to taste


Put chicken breasts in food processor to grind up  if you can find ground chicken breast, you can use that too. Heat oil and add chicken and cook about 10 minutes on medium heat until no longer pink.  Rinse out processor and add carrots, celery, garlic and red pepper and puree. Add to chicken mixture and cook about 5 minutes until veggies start to soften.

Next add the rest of the ingredients, put stove on simmer and cook for 1 hour.

Nutrition Information: 248 calories; 3.8 g. fat; 44 mg. cholesterol; 1362 mg. sodium; 25.3 g. carbohydrate; 10.8 g. fiber; 28.3 g. protein

Result: I made this recipe of Biz’s back in February, except I followed the directions this time…since I am now the proud owner of a food processor. And I liked the chili better this time! For whatever reason, it wasn’t as spicy (which was fine with me…still had plenty of spice!) and I LOVED the texture — dicing/grinding the meat and vegetables completely changed the chili (as gross as grinding your own meat is — it’s good!). The chili is low in calories and high in fiber like a lot of the chili recipe entries, and similarly, high in sodium. Just no getting around that with the canned goods!!! Mr. Prevention (got his buffalo chicken fix!) and I both loved it, thanks Biz! 😀


Crab Queso Dip adapted from Homemade by Holman, inspired by Paula Deen

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 large or 1 whole small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
4-6 jalapeno peppers, minced (I used 4 large)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-8 oz packages 1/3 less fat Neufchatel, cut into 1 oz pieces
1 cup low-fat sour cream
1 cup 2% skim milk
2 cups 2% sharp cheddar cheese, grated/shredded
12 oz lump crab meat
2 tsp ancho chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt


In a dutch oven or large sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat and add onion, bell pepper, jalapenos and garlic.  Cook 3-4 minutes until slightly softened.  Reduce heat to medium and add cream cheese.  Stir to distribute and melt.  When melted, add sour cream and milk and stir to incorporate.  Mixture should be relatively smooth aside from the vegetables.  Add shredded cheese and stir to melt.  Add crab meat and spices.  Stir until well mixed and simmer an additional 5-10 minutes, until bubbly and hot.

Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with chips or transfer to a crockpot and set on “warm” setting to keep hot. Serves 15 as heavy appetizers.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 176 calories; 12.1 g. fat; 42 mg. cholesterol; 331 mg. sodium; 6.4 g. carbohydrate; 0.8 g. fiber; 12.3 g. protein

Result: As I was stirring this HUGE sauce pan full of cheesy queso I thought to myself, “Wow, Nicole…you’re such a stand-up dietitian!” That thought quickly passed as I tried the queso and my heart skipped a beat. It was really good. Mr. Prevention and I settled in for the Illini game and proceeded to make a substantial, and yet very small, dent in a bowl of this queso dip…the recipe makes a ton! I felt a bit guilty for my indulgence and then (never before!) I decided to calculate the nutrition stats. Like I said, this makes a TON and when the WHOLE recipe clocked in at just over 2,640 calories I was FLOORED! I checked my math, re-checked my math…yep. My best guess is that this appetizer would serve 15 for heavy, heavy appetizers and could easily serve 20 at a party with a large spread. Mmmm! Enjoy!


My workout for the day was interesting: a 4-mile power walk. My 5’3 frame was HUSTLIN’ at 4.0-4.7 mph. I think it was harder than running!!

Question: What’s one food you’d THINK would be really unhealthy but isn’t all that bad?

Queso loooove,


Filed under dietitians, dog, fiber, garlic, guilt-free, healthy cooking, hors d'oeuvres, low-carb, pets, recipe, reduced-calorie, self-control, snack, sodium, Uncategorized

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

Harry Potter Pumpkin Cookies

If you’re sick of pumpkin, sorry for ya!  😀 I just opened my second 7 pound can of pumpkin for the season…most of which is in the freezer, rest assured. Mr. Prevention rarely requests much outside of Buffalo Chicken Dip (which, by the way, is being made for today’s Illini game), so when he requested pumpkin cookies this week, I happily obliged.

Rosmerta’s Pumpkin Cookies from Harry Potter

1 cup pumpkin
1 egg
2 cups flour – all purpose
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup shortening 50/50 Smart Balance Butter Blend (2 sticks)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

3 2 Tbsp butter*
½ 1/4 cup brown sugar*
4 2 Tbsp fat-free milk*
¾ ½ tsp vanilla*
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar*


Preheat oven to 350° F.

Cream sugar and butter. Add vanilla, egga, and pumpkin. Sift dry ingredients. Add remaining ingredients – mix well. Use teaspoon to drop cookies on cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes. While cookies bake, prepare the frosting.

Pumpkin Cookie Frosting Directions:

Bring 3 tablespoons butter, brown sugar, and milk to a boil in sauce pan. Cool for a short while. Add vanilla and powdered sugar. Drizzle onto cookies and allow to cool before storing in an air-tight container. Yield: 4 dozen cookies.

Nutrition Information (per cookie): 81 calories; 4.3 g. fat;  11 mg. cholesterol; 89 mg. sodium; 10.4 g. carbohydrate; 6.4 g. sugar; 0.2 g. fiber; 0.7 g. protein

Result: Muahaha…these are goood!! Granted, there is nothing healthy at all, whatsoever about these cookies…but that’s okay! Once in awhile 😉 The cookies are small, so you can do some damage control that way. Using a butter made with healthy oils that is non-hydrogenated makes the fat in the cookies a heart-healthy fat. Next time I will probably try these cookies with whole wheat pastry flour just to add some nutrition and fiber. Enjoy!

It is a goooooooorgeous weekend in central Ohio! I am LOVING it!!

Off to make chili, root on my Illini…and root against the Buckeyes with the girls!

Question: Were you/are you a Harry Potter fan? Which house would you have been in: Gryffindor, Slyterin, Hufflepuff, or Ravenclaw?

According to this quiz, I’m a Hufflepuff…but I would’ve placed myself in Gryffindor 😉

HP love,


Filed under butter, dessert, fiber, MUFAs and PUFAs, recipe, self-control

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

better late than never…

A late post today!

So you remember those YUMMY no-bake cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and cranberry white chocolate chip cookies I made for Mr. P’s company bake sale that I posted about yesterday? Well, he forgot them on the kitchen table and left without them in the morning. I grocery shopped, baked, cleaned, packed in baggies, and loaded in a shopping bag, placed right in front of his keys and wallet. Still, he walked out without them. Needless to say, my yesterday started on the wrong foot (really wrong foot). I drove the cookies to my office in the town we both work in, completely out of my way, and jetted off to a meeting an hour away. Good thing I can put the pedal to the metal…this girl was on time. Mr. P got his cookies and I got to my meeting on time. Crisis… averted.

After the meeting and before I started my late, long work day, my co-worker (Hi Christin!) took me to my new favorite place: an Amish market!

1.99 pounds of steel cut oats for $1.17!!!

Blackstrap molasses for $1.75!!!

1/2 pound of banana chips for $0.88!!!

Colby for Mr. P and Apple Cinnamon Cheddar to share 🙂

Fresh spices: cayenne, cumin, sage, cinnamon, rosemary, Spanish paprika, chili powder, and poppy seeds for $0.89 to $1.98 for ~2/3 cup or 1/5th pound 😀

Fresh churned peanut butter on-site for $1.54! Cheaper by the pound than Skippy Natural!

And I got all sorts of fresh pastas in fun shapes and some chocolate-covered goodies for Mr. P. His birthday is Saturday, after all. So fun! Thank you, Christin 😀

It’s fair to say my day improved from there…despite walking in the door at 8pm and making some bad choices for dinner.

Obviously by 8pm I was ready to eat my arm off and Mr. P had taken it upon himself to order pizza on my late night. So I came home, had 1 slice of pizza, 1 leftover Buffalo Chicken Bite, 2/3rds-ish cups of Mr. P’s leftover pasta from a dinner out, a few gummy butterflies (i.e. gummy bears), and a glass of wine. …All before I got my heels off my feet. Vegetables who? Fruit what? Whole grain why? Oy!

THIS is why I meal plan and love leftovers!!! And THIS is why it’s so important to not get to the point of HUNGRY because nothing good ever comes of it! …at least not for me. Obviously. But it was still probably better than stopping for fast food. Which, by the way, sounded really appealing during my 70 minute commute home…since I’m baring all here. 😉

Question: What was your last amazing food bargain?

I seriously feel like I hit the JACKPOT yesterday! 😀

Almost Friday!


Filed under budget shopping, dining out, dinner, fast food, fruits and vegetables, grocery store, herbs, hunger, marriage, self-control, stress, Uncategorized, wine, work