French Sorrel

Posted by Jennifer (the student)

Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest

Last spring, I purchased a small French sorrel plant from a farmer’s market. I had never tried sorrel but I was intrigued after reading many European recipes using sorrel. Last year, my little sorrel plant allowed me to try several simple recipes. I really liked the tart lemony flavor it adds to simple dishes like scrambled eggs.

This year, my small plant has tripled in size and is thriving. Obliviously sorrel is easy to grow since I am not much of a gardener. Its shield-shaped leaves are similar to spinach. Sorrel is both an herb and a green and can be used to replace spinach in most recipes. If replacing spinach just reduce the amount of sorrel since it has quite a tart flavor.

Some of the health benefits of sorrel are its low in calorie and high in fiber. In addition, it is high in vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, iron, magnesium and calcium.

Caution should be used if you suffer from heartburn, sorrel may be to acidic for you.  Also, sorrel should not be cooked in cast-iron or aluminum cookware.

If you come across sorrel this spring give it a try. I am glad I added it to my diet.

♥ ♥

Recipe contest winner – Italian Stew

Posted by Jennifer (The RD)

A few weeks ago, I posted an entry about National Nutrition Month.  I really wanted to encourage my co-workers to start thinking about good nutrition.  So, I had them turn in their favorite healthy recipe to be judged by our volunteers, one of which is my very own co-blogger Jennifer.  Our volunteers tried out all of the recipes and judged them on how healthy they were, taste, appearance, etc.  The day that the winning recipes were announced was really fun.  Along with receiving a recipe book of all of the contributed recipes, each person got an award…heartiest meal, best use of vegetarian items, etc.  However, we had 2 grand prize winners!  The first of the winners was Sheila, one of our nurses, who won for her scrumptious Italian Stew recipe.  On top of submitting this great and healthy recipe, Sheila has also adopted an adorable new dog that her family plans to take many walks with so that eveyone can become more active.  Way to go Sheila!!!!  Here is Sheila’s recipe:

7 tsp. olive oil, divided

1 ½ cups chopped onion

½ cup chopped carrot

1 TB minced garlic

¼ cup all purpose flour

2 lbs. boneless chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into cubes

¾ tsp. salt, divided

½ tsp. black pepper

1 cup dry red wine

3 ¾ cups chopped, seeded, and peeled plum tomatoes (about 2 lbs.)

1 ½ cups fat free, low sodium beef broth

½ cup water

2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano

2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

1 eight oz. package cremini mushrooms, quartered

¾ cup (1/2 inch thick sliced carrots)

2 TB chopped fresh basil

1 TB chopped parsley


Heat dutch oven over med/high heat.  Add 1 tsp. oil.  Add onion and chopped carrots and sauté 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic and sauté 45 seconds, stirring constantly.  Remove from the pan.

Add 1 TB oil to pan.  Place ¼ cup flour in a shallow dish.  Sprinkle beef with ½ tsp. salt and pepper.  Dredge beef in flour.  Add half of beef to pan.  Saute 6 minutes, browning all sides.  Remove from pan.  Repeat procedure.

Add wine to pan and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan.  Cook about 5 minutes (until reduced to 1/3 cup).  Return meat and onion mixture to pan.  Add tomato and next 6 ingredients and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Discard bay leaf.  Stir in remaining ¼ tsp. salt, basil, and parsley.

 ♥ ♥

Spring Cleaning & Health Benefits

Posted by Jennifer (the student)




Every spring, I start making lists of all the projects I want to accomplish. Once I complete all of these projects I always feel so good about my home and myself. I think most of us do because a clean and organized home is good for your health.

Some of the health benefits of spring-cleaning are:

  • Organization leads to stress reduction. When everything is in it’s place, time is not wasted looking for misplaced items. Being organized lets you be in control of your life and domain.
  • A good deep cleaning rids your home of dust, mold and bacteria, which helps your immune system take care of you.
  • Just the act of cleaning gets your body moving and burning calories. Both your body and home will benefit.

Make spring-cleaning a priority for your health and home. Happy cleaning!

♥ ♥ 


March 25th – Exercise Log

Posted by Jennifer (the student)



Another busy week but next week should be easier.

3/25/12            Hike 6 miles 

3/26/12            Yoga 1-hour class 

3/27/12            Piyo 1-hour class, Weight-training 30 minutes 

3/28/12            Off 

3/29/12            Off 

3/30/12            Cross-trainer 30 minutes, Weight-training 30 minutes X

3/31/12            Tennis 1 ½ hour class 

♥ ♥

Happy National Chip and Dip Day!

 Posted by Jennifer (The RD)

Who doesn’t like America’s most classic party food, chips and dip?  Chips and dip can be very addicting and often very calorie, fat, and salt laden.  Remember those time(s) when you went to the Mexican restaurant and could barely dig into your entrée because your stomach was so full from the chips and salsa?  I think we’ve all been there.  Here are some tips for not getting ourselves into so much trouble today.   🙂

  1. Try to limit the amount that you are eating.  Instead of eating ½ of the bag of chips, try to stop after only a handful.
  2. Substitute high fat bases like sour cream for lower fat options such as fat free sour cream, fat free yogurt, or even blended silken tofu.
  3. Use salt free or lower salt herb blends to flavor your dip as opposed to the super high salt dip mix packages.  I love penzeys:

 ♥ ♥


Soy Chorizo Chili

 Posted by Jennifer (the student)

If you are extra busy with work or school but still want to eat healthy, I am with you.  I have a few dishes I make often to help me get through the busy times and this is one of those dishes. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.


  •  6 oz soy chorizo (half of the sausage)
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 1 jalapeno (optional)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow or green bell pepper
  • 4 – 15 oz cans of beans (I used great northern & black but any type will work)
  • 26 oz chopped tomatoes (I use a box of Pomi)
  • 3 oz tomato paste (half of 6 oz can)
  • sprinkle of epazote (optional- a seasoning found in the Mexican aisle of the market)
  • sea salt & fresh ground pepper (to taste)


  1. Remove casing from soy chorizo and add to large stockpot over low-medium heat.
  2. While soy chorizo is sautéing, chopped onion, jalapeno, and bell peppers and add to stockpot.
  3. Turn up heat to medium. Cook until onions are translucent.
  4. Drain and rinse beans and add to stockpot. Mix well.
  5. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and seasonings.
  6. Mix well and turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • I usually top with a wedge of lime, avocado and a spoonful of Greek yogurt.
  • This keeps well for up to 4 or 5 days.
  • Good on top of rice, quinoa or roasted potatoes.

 ♥ ♥

Exercise for the “not so young”….an inspiring story

Posted by Jennifer (The RD)

A few weeks ago a family member was admitted to the hospital due to Diabetes that was very much out of control.  Throughout the years, we had all seen her make futile attempts at exercise and sneak foods that were not within her dietary restrictions.  Medication compliance was also suspected to be poor. Sure enough, eventually, her blood sugar was so high that it did not even register on the meter.  She was rushed to the hospital to get her blood sugar under control.  Upon discharge, her blood sugar was up to the 300’s at times (normal random blood sugar levels should be about 70-125, depending upon which lab is being used) despite improvements in her diet.  Thankfully, when she re-gained her strength, and began to exercise, her blood sugar was 130 after breakfast (blood sugar 2 hours after eating should be from 70-145)!     A picture of the reading was texted to everyone in the family so we could all JUMP FOR JOY!!!  At over 70 years old, she may not be able to join a cardio class or even attempt to get on a stair climber, but just a daily simple walk around the block did the trick.  🙂

♥ ♥

March 18th – Exercise Log

Posted by Jennifer (the student)



Last week, I had a hard time fitting in my exercise. I am helping a sibling move and a parent with cancer. My schedule will be busy through the month of March. Hopefully in April I will be able to get back to a more normal routine.

3/18/12            Off 

3/19/12            Off 

3/20/12            Off 

3/21/12            Off 

3/22/12            Yoga 1-hour class, Weight-training 30 minutes 

3/23/12            Cross-trainer 30 minutes, Weight-training 30 minutes 

3/24/12            Tennis 1 ½ hour class 

♥ ♥

Mini Chocolate Mint Trifle

Posted by Jennifer (the Student)

Happy St. Patrick’s to all!

I have a very quick recipe for you that requires mostly just assembling.  I think this sweet treat is lighter than most trifles and it is quite tasty. Enjoy!


Bottom Layer

  • chocolate brownies or cookies (I used Laura’s Wholesome Junk Food Mint Double Fudge Bitelettes)

Pudding Layer

  • 1 package of firm silken tofu
  • 2 TBSP agave nectar
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp mint extracts
  • 2-3 drops of green food coloring

Cream Topping

  •   1 can coconut milk
  •  2 TBSP agave nectar

Candy Topping

  • several mints or chocolates (I used Newman’s Own Dark Chocolate peppermint cups)


  1. Rough chop or crumble brownie/cookie to cover bottom of container.
  2. Combine tofu, agave nectar, mint extracts and food coloring. (I used a immersion blender)
  3. Top brownie/cookie layer with pudding.
  4. Blend coconut milk and agave nectar with hand mixer until it thicken a bit.
  5. Top pudding layer with cream topping.
  6. Rough chopped candy and sprinkle on top.
  7. Keep refrigerated until served.

* I used small trifle glasses but this could be made as a traditional trifle too.

♥ ♥

The Luck of the Irish

Posted by Jennifer (the Student)

Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest

The traditional Irish diet is simple and it is full of fresh, quality ingredients. Vegetables are plentiful, starting with potatoes, which are used in stews, soups and many other dishes. But the potato is only the beginning of the fresh vegetables used in traditional Irish cooking. Other commonly used vegetables are: cabbage, onions, leeks, sorrel, nettles, watercress, carrots, parsnips, beans, peas, garlic and mushrooms.

Fruits are eaten fresh in the summer and preserved for the rest of the year. The most common fruits are berries of all kinds and apples.

Grains are used in porridges and breads. Grains used most often are barley, oats, rye and whole-wheat. Soda bread is the most popular type of bread made of whole-wheat flour and buttermilk.

Sources of protein are seafood, meats and goose eggs. Seafood and meats are used in meat pies, soups and stews. The most common seafood used is salmon, halibut, cod, scallops, lobster, mussels and oysters. Typical, meats are lamb, beef and pork.

Also, dairy product is part of the diet. Sheep’s milk cheese is commonly used.

Honey, herbs and Irish moss (seaweed) are used to flavor food.

Tea and beer are the most popular beverages.

I think the luck of the Irish comes from eating a simple diet of fresh food.

♥ ♥