Eat This Not That: Your Thanksgiving Survival Guide

Did you know that the average American will consume 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving day??? OUCH! That’s going to take weeks to run off (and that’s IF you behave between now and Christmas). But, no one in their right mind is going to skip out on their favorite Thanksgiving dishes! Afterall, Thanksgiving only comes once a year! SO, here’s your Thanksgiving good eating guide:  what to have SMALLER portions of, and what you can eat with [LESS] guilt!


Light Turkey Meat


Dark Turkey Meat is twice as fatty as light meat!


Dinner Roll with Butter ~ 130 calories


Croissant ~ 310 calories!

Croissant ~ 310 calories!


Mashed Potatoes ~ 100 calories


Sweet Potato Casserole ~ 250 calories, plus all that extra sugar and preservatives from the marshmallows!


Gravy ~ 30 calories in 1/4 cup


Jellied Cranberries ~ 110 calories in 1/4 cup


Pumpkin Pie ~ 300 calories


Pecan Pie ~ 450 calories and 21g fat

A few other things you can do to minimize your calorie impact this Thanksgiving:
*Drink lots of water – fill up on water before you eat the big meal
*Go on a family walk after the meal
*Eat breakfast – get your metabolism going right away in the morning. Don’t wait all day to eat!
Have a happy healthy TURKEY day!

Mom knows best…

Every year after Thanksgiving my mom takes the leftover turkey – bones and all – and whips up a delicious turkey and bean soup. It’s not only delicious, but as I recently learned, extremely nutritious! (And budget friendly!)

Last week I started coming down with my first case of winter sniffles and had an uncanny craving for this soup. But, being as it’s almost a month till Thanksgiving, I thought I’d try a little experiment…home-made soup using a rotisserie chicken!  The hubs picked up a rotisserie chicken (which in its self is a few meals for the both of us!) Below is a rough recipe for easy home made chicken soup, but the beauty of soup is that you don’t have to follow a recipe, you can make it using any ingredients you like!

There are several reasons this soup is SO great.

1:  It’s budget friendly. You can have several meals using the rotisserie chicken, and then make soup using the carcass and any veggies you happen to have on hand. No extra ingredients needed!

2: It’s SUPER healthy! Not only is it made of healthy veggies, beans, and lean meat, but soup made with  “bone broth” has extraordinary health benefits. You get calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and other trace minerals in an absorbable form from bone broth. Bone broth is also rich in gelatin, an excellent source of supplementary protein.

3: Chicken soup actually does help with a cold! Recent studies suggest that real chicken soup may truly alleviate the upper respiratory symptoms of a cold.  Make a big batch of this soup and freeze it in individual sized servings for the next time someone gets sick.

Home-Made Chicken Soup (my version…remember, be creative!)
1 chicken carcass and any extra meat
water (enough to cover the chicken carcass in a large pot)
Black beans
Carrots, sliced
Fresh garlic, 6 cloves, crushed
Rosemary – generous
Oregano – generous
Thyme – generous
Bay leaves
Juice of 1 lemon
Other ingredient ideas:
Celery Salt
Put chicken bones/carcass in a large-ish pot
Add water so that chicken carcass/bones are covered
Add all of your ingredients and stir
Cover and cook on medium/medium-low until all your ingredients are thoroughly cooked (mine took about 3 hours). Stir occasionally.
Use a slotted spoon or strainer to help pick out the bones

So if you feel like your coming down with a cold, or you just want to have a nutritious soup, try making chicken soup from scratch! It’s easier than you’d think, and there’s no “wrong” way to make it!

Have a happy healthy day!


My Newest Food Fetish: Lentils

I had never cooked lentils (unless they were in a canned soup) until a few days ago, and I can’t believe I’ve been missing out all these years!!! At first glance, lentils may not seem very exciting…brown bean-like things with no taste – right?

Wrong. Lentils can be über flavorful. But more importantly, I discovered that they are VERY easy and quick to make. After getting home from the gym at 7pm I’m hungry, and I want to eat NOW. I won’t wait more than 15 minutes to eat! So, I discovered 2 products that will make a healthy meal in 10 minutes or less…

Sprouted lentils are AWESOME because they take 7 minutes to cook (non-sprouted lentils take 30-45 minutes) and they are extremely healthy for you! Sprouted lentils are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber.Their high fiber content also prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. Lentils provide excellent amounts of six important minerals, two B-vitamins, and protein—all with virtually no fat. The calorie cost of all this nutrition? Just 230 calories for a whole cup of cooked lentils (you won’t be able to eat even that much…they are sooo filling).

When you’re hungry and in a hurry, an all-natural curry sauce goes great with lentils! Once the lentils are cooked, just drain them and put them back into you pot, add a whole jar of curry sauce, and stir for about 1 minute. This curry sauce is also super healthy for you, and includes healthy coconut fats, and vegetables!

1 whole bag of sprouted lentils: ~ $3.00

1 jar curry sauce: ~ $4.00

5 healthy meals/servings for $7 in under 10 minutes? PRICELESS  : )

Have a happy healthy day!


Processed Foods: All Bad?

I know, I’ve been a terrible blogger lately! Hopefully you don’t feel too neglected!

When your trying to eat healthy, its easy to jump to a general conclusion that ALL fresh foods are good, and ALL processed foods are bad. While eating fresh and natural foods is definitely good for you, it’s also true that not ALL processed foods are bad. This is especially nice to know when your short on cash or in a hurry. So what ARE the healthy processed foods you ask? Here you go…

Yogurt: The process used to make yogurt is what makes it so good for you. In addition to the calcium, protein, vitamins and minerals yogurt delivers, the active bacteria cultures that give it its tangy taste are probiotics that are thought to provide digestive health benefits. Use unsweetened greek yogurt and add fresh fruit or honey for the most healthy option.

Canned Beans: Beans are an excellent source of protein (especially for those who don’t eat meat) and fiber. Sure, you can buy, dry and soak them (thereby processing them yourself). But you can’t beat the convenience of canned. Look for reduced-sodium brands, or drain and rinse your beans before eating.

Spaghetti Sauce from a Jar:  The process of cooking actually improves the quality of the antioxidant carotenoids that give tomatoes their color, making jarred sauce a healthful choice. Such sauces usually are seasoned with herbs, which add vitamins and minerals such as potassium.

Frozen Veggies:  Vegetables harvested at their peak and immediately frozen retain all their nutritional value, allowing us to enjoy their benefits year round. They’re often less expensive than fresh produce, too.

Peanut Butter: A great source of protein and heart-healthy fats, this tasty, versatile spread is most healthy when made with just peanuts and salt. “Normal” peanut butter has lots of bad-for-you ingredients like high fructose corn syrup!

SO, if you feeling too busy to eat healthy, think again!

Have a happy healthy day!


Attack of the Football Season Snacking

I don’t know about you, but something about watching football games on Sundays during the fall induces me to consume high-calorie, sugary/salty/fattening foods (not to mention beer…I’m really digging hard apple cider right now…). SO, my goal for this years football season? To come up with some healthy snacks that still *taste* like junk food. Tricky? Yes. Impossible? No way!  So todays recipe is all about…

CHIP SWAP! Toss the Tostitos and reach for…KALE?

Yep. Kale. That weird dark green leafy stuff that you’ve never tried. I was a little skeptical about this one, but I’M NOT LYING, it’s AMAZING. Crunchy, salty, and just like chips…you can’t stop eating them. Seriously. Just try! And bonus? You get a good dose of fiber, iron, and lots of other vitamins and minerals. Kale is super healthy for you!

What you need
  • 1 or 2 (or 3) big bunches of Kale
  • cookie sheets
  • parchment paper or foil
  • sea salt
  • olive oil
  • an olive oil mister/pump (optional, but SERIOUSLY worth the $10 investment)
 What you do
  • line cookie sheets with parchment paper/foil (I’m all about not doing dishes if possible!)
  • wash/dry your kale
  • tear into oversized tortilla chip sized pieces and place on cookie sheet (pack ’em in there…they shrink a ton)
  • spray/sprinkle with olive oil
  • sprinkle with sea salt (LIGHTLY! You don’t need much at all…the first time I made these I over-salted, so I went lighter on the salt the second batch, and they were STILL too salty…a word to the wise!)
  • bake @ 350 for 10-15 minutes (edges should be brown but not burnt)
*If you’re feeling extra crazy, experiment with adding seasonings…crushed red pepper, Thai, lemon pepper, garlic salt…


ENJOY! (See how much they shrank? That tray was FULL before baking!)


Have a happy, healthy day!





The Great Fat Debate

Happy Friday!!! So, I took a nutritional class last month at my local natural food store and I was SO surprised by what I learned that I had to share…

MYTH: People get fat from eating foods high in fat. Our bodies actually need fat (good fat!) to keep our metabolism going strong.

FACT: SUGAR is the major culprit of fat gain. Sugar = body fat.

DID YOU KNOW: Our bodies convert most complex carbs (bread, pasta…) into SUGAR? (Remember, sugar = fat = going shopping for bigger jeans…not good!) One serving of Special K cereal converts into the same amount of sugar as a bottle of soda! Ick!

I grew up drinking skim milk, eating low-fat ice cream, and low-fat snacks. I, like many, thought I was making healthier choices! WRONG!

Low-fat versions of foods usually replace the removed fat with extra sugar or carbs. And since our bodies convert carbs to sugar, and sugar to actual (flabby arms) fat, these low-fat foods are actually horrible for us!!!!


Drink whole milk. Yep. Whole milk. Skim milk has MUCH more sugar than whole milk. And an added benefit of whole milk? Extra good fats to keep you feeling full and to keep your metabolism running high!

Avoid ALL complex carbs. (bread, cereal, tortillas, chips, rice, pasta…). The RIGHT carbs to eat are fruits, veggies, and brown rice.   And (to state the obvious…) avoid sugar!

These might seem like impossible goals…BABY STEPS! Start with breakfast. If you avoid carbs and sugar in your breakfast, there’s sure to be a difference! Some good options are turkey bacon, nuts, home-made healthy smoothies (use milk, fruit, and protein powder…avoid juice, sorbet, and ice cream), fruit, or full-fat greek yogurt.

Look around online and you’ll see the jury is still out on this topic! This is just what I found out at a presentation from a Registerd Dietician. Take it with a grain of salt, but it’s definitley something to think about!

Have a happy healthy day!


Substitutions = Cooking on the Cheap(er)

I don’t know about you, but I really hate it when you come across a delicious recipe, only to realize that you only have a handful of the 20 ingredients called for. It’s just not economical to go buy a bunch more ingredients to make one dish!

Last week I had tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, and parsley from the garden and really really wanted to make tabbouleh salad. The only problem, I discovered as I opened my pantry, was that I did not have any bulgur/cracked wheat. I was not about to run to the grocery store to get one ingredient for a salad. After rummaging through my pantry, I did find large couscous pearls, and decided to try using that as a substitution for bulgur. WELL, it turned out great. I actually like it SOOOO much better than traditional tabbouleh!

What did I learn from this little experiment? That substitutions will often work just as well or better than the original ingredients of a recipe! I found this great online tool that gives you suggestions for substitutions if you’re missing an ingredient or two. It doesn’t cover every ingredient, but its pretty darn helpful!

Caitlin’s Tabbouleh Salad

– 1 cup pearled couscous, cooked according to directions on package and rinsed thoroughly with cold water after cooking
– 1 cup chopped tomatoes
– 1 cup finely chopped cucumber
– 1-2 cups chopped parsley
– 1/2 cup finely chopped mint
– garlic salt to taste (or fresh garlic)
– onion powder to taste (or fresh onion)
– olive oil (about 3 Tbsp)
– lemon juice (about 3 Tbsp)

Have a happy healthy day!


I’ve got the beet I’ve got the beet….yeah!

No, I’m not a terrible speller…I know that song is talking about a beat, not a beet. But I couldn’t resist. Our last CSA box contained a bunch of  beets. I’ve eaten pickled beets at Christmas and Thanksgiving, but I’ve never tried cooking my own beets before.  I was a little hesitant about dealing with raw beets, but I found an EASY recipe to try, and it was DELISH. I had it for lunch this week, but apparently was too excited to eat my beet salad to take time to take a picture – sorry!  : D

Easy Beet Salad

1 lb beets
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pinch cinnamon
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Salt to taste

Cut off the tops, leaving a stalk of about 1 1/2 inches.
Boil, covered, until tender. (~ 15 minutes)
Strain and let cool. Slip off the skins, trim off the tops, and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over beets.
Let marinate 1 hour before serving.

Beets are also super nutritious! They contain lots of magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, fiber, biotin, and folic acid.  Beets are a “cardiovascular health” veggie. All those nutrients are great for improving/maintaining cardiovascular health. That can make you healthy, and also improve your athletic performance!

I had no idea beets were to easy to prepare! This salad is a great way to get some serious reds/purples into your diet! Although I normally think of beets as more of a holiday season food, cold beet salad is really refreshing in the summer! Perfect for packing in your lunch or serving to guests!

What do you think? Do you have favorite beet recipes of your own? I’d love to hear about it!

Getting to the root of things…

I used to think that the only root vegetables that were semi-edible were potatoes and carrots…but after 5 weeks of CSA shares, I’ve learned to expand my horizon, or “spread my roots” when it comes to root veggies.

Meet: Kohlrabi. It has a spicy/sweet taste and a crisp crunchy texture. I’d compare it to a cross between a radish and an apple. It’s great cut up into chunks and eaten raw, dipped in humus, or sliced on top of a salad.

Health Benefits: Hight in vitamin C and potassium, helps with iron absorption, and is a good source of folic acid. Helps with energy, circulation, and blood sugar imbalances.

Meet: Turnips. Not just any turnips, but baby white turnips. Turnips are not giant mystery roots that your grandma forces on you when you come over for dinner. They are actually delicate, delicious little veggies, when eaten the right way! They are best in the spring when they are still small and sweet. I like to add them to salads or put them in a foil pouch for grilling.

Health Benefits: Low calorie and a great source of vitamin C, various antioxidants, and fiber! If you eat the greens (throw them into the salad) then you’ll also get a bonus haul of vitamin A, K, and folate!

Meet: Radishes. I’ve tried radishes from the store before. Usually I end of throwing over half of them away because they are woody or mushy or gross. Fresh, locally grown radishes are a whole different story. They are crunchy, spicy, and surprisingly sweet. They are fantastic on their own, dipped in humus, or in salads. I could eat these every day!

Health Benefits: Great source of vitamin C (seeing a pattern here with root veggies???), potassium, copper, and folic acid. Radish greens can be eaten too, and will give you loads of protein and calcium. Suprising!

Getting sick of lettuce salads topped with the standard tomatoes and carrots? Try throwing in some root veggies (and their greens!) for a new kick to your salad (both taste and health wise)! Root veggies are pretty cheap, and if you use the greens, can be multipurpose as well! Your body and your wallet will thank you! Pick up some new root veggies next time you visit the farmers market or the store. Let me know what you think!

Have a happy healthy day!


New Eats and Old Friends

This week has been full of healthy surprises, both old and new!

NEW: Weekly TSA Box

This year we signed up for a TSA share. It’s similar to CSA (community supported agriculture) but the farm we signed up with calls it TSA (tribally supported agriculture). The Star Tribune did an article about it this week  if you are curious! Every week we get a big box of organic, locally grown veggies. What I really like about it is that we get veggies we’ve never tried before, and probably wouldn’t pick out at the store. So far, the new veggies that we’ve gotten are kalorabi (LOVED it), turnips (Liked it), garlic scapes (ehhh), swiss chard (haven’t tried it yet), and lots of different varieties of heirloom lettuce (LOVE). This summer we will definitely be having a very diverse and healthy diet!

OLD: Swimming

The doctor approved me to do some swimming, so i’m finally back to getting some real cardio into my routine! I won’t be able to run for another 3 months, so me and the pool are going to become very good friends. I used to swim in highschool, and I am SO glad that I know how to swim. If I wasn’t a swimmer, I wouldn’t be able to workout for 3 more months! But it’s been a while since I’ve done any serious time in the pool and It’s pretty weird/hard getting back into it! This week I peaked at an 1800 meter workout (pretty pathetic if I think about how much I’d swim in one swim team practice…so I try not to think about it!). Next weeks goal is to get up to 2ooo in one workout!

NEW: Underwater MP3 Player

This is possibly the best investment I’ve made in a while! I think the reason I stopped swimming on my own was because it was just so boring, compared to running/working out with my iPod. But swimming with music? It’s even more fun than running with music! The player I chose is called the SwiMP3 player and it doesn’t use earphones but rather transmits sound through vibration. It works great, even if I do look extremely dorky when I use it! I can’t wait to go swimming again today after work!

I look forward to posting new recipes using NEW veggies this summer! And I encourage you to investigate buying a CSA share next year, its definitley worth it!

Have a happy healthy 4th of July weekend!


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