Archive for November, 2012


Here is the EASIEST way to cook vegetables—roast them!

Roasted Beets


2-3 bunches of fresh beets

water or broth

salt and pepper

olive oil (optional)


Pre-heat the oven to 4000 F. Cut the leafy tops and the long skinny tails off of the beets. Wash the beets to remove the excess dirt. Place them in a baking dish. Add about 1 inch of water or broth. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for about an hour or until the beets are tender.

When the beets are slightly cooled, you can easily peel off the skins. Cut them into chunks, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Roasted Cauliflower 


1 cauliflower head, cut into florets

olive oil

salt and pepper

grated Parmesan cheese


Pre-heat the oven to 4000 F. Place the florets into a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. (You can also spray it with olive oil using a “Misto” bottle.) Season with salt and pepper.

Roast for about 40-45 minutes until the cauliflower is tender. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and bake for another minute or two.

Roasted Sweet Mini Peppers


1 bag of sweet, mini peppers

salt and pepper

olive oil


Pre-heat the oven to 4250 F. Place the mini peppers in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 30-35 minutes stirring 1-2 times.

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Red is my favorite color. It’s bold and passionate. It’s the color of some of my favorite fruits and vegetables—radicchio, beets, strawberries, and apples.

And now there’s another reason to love red: A recent study  found that using red dinner plates decreased consumption compared to using blue or white plates. The authors of the study believe that the color red is  associated with “danger” or “stop”, which is a mental cue that influenced eating behavior. Pretty cool!

So now that the holiday season is upon us, it will be very easy to find red plates. Maybe we should give it a go? After all, we KNOW how dangerous this time of year can be!

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Two days ago, I had my gallbladder removed. For those of you don’t know, the gallbladder is a small sac that sits just beneath the liver. It stores bile that the liver makes. Bile is very important because it emulsifies, or breaks down, the fat that we eat. Once the fat is broken down, it can be absorbed and utilized in the body. When you lose your gallbladder, your liver takes over.

My gallbladder attack started as what I thought to be a really nasty stomach bug. I kept waiting to feel better, but didn’t. I should have gone to the ER sooner. My gallbladder was so inflamed and infected, that it if I had waited any longer, I could have become septic.

I learned 2 key things:

1.  I have a very high tolerance to pain. If you’re like me, this can get you into trouble. People like us need others to give us a push. In my case, one of my doctors said, “RHONDA…………WHAT THE F#CK ARE YOU DOING??? GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM…………NOW!” My husband now knows that he has to be this “pusher”.

2. The day that I went to the ER, I also went to the supermarket, convincing myself that I was ok. And yet in the back of my mind, I kept thinking “something is not right” because I NEVER felt this way before in my life. So if something feels REALLY strange………..get it checked!

The four-letter expression, “Better safe than sorry”, is now my new mantra!

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Can you believe that next week is Thanksgiving?  It will kick off the season of eating turkey, going to holiday parties, having family gatherings,  and gaining weight. After we’ve stuffed ourselves silly, January will roll around and we’ll say THAT’S IT………I’M GOING TO START EXERCISING.

While I could write pages of advice on how to get through this holiday season without doing horrible damage, I will keep this short and simple: KEEP EXERCISING. Or, if you were thinking about starting in January, START NOW.

Exercise will help prevent weight gain and make you more cognizant of what’s going on around you. It will do damage control. I actually had a new client, who did this last year , and it worked. She slowly started an exercise program in November and by the time January rolled around, she was ready to kick it up a notch. And once she did, she lost weight and felt great. Looking back, she thought that the “jump start” that she gave herself in November was extremely valuable.

So don’t put exercising off for another 2 months. Start now. The payoff will be worth it!

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There seems to be a lot of controversy over the information that currently exists on food labels. My feeling is that if you’re going to put information on a label, the information should immediately make sense to us. This is NOT the case. While I see MANY problems with food labels, I will spare you and focus on two issues that really bug me.

SERVING SIZE: The other day I saw a small bag of caramel popcorn. A serving size was 28 grams and had 130 calories. While many of us understand 130 calories, what the hell does 28 grams of popcorn translate into? One cup? ½ cup? WHAT? This small package, that most of us would consider to be a single serving, actually had FOUR AND ONE HALF servings. This means that this little bag had 585 calories. Clearly, there are two main problems here:

1. We don’t understand the 28-gram serving size

2. The 28-gram serving size is completely unrealistic

SUGARS: We keep hearing in the news how dangerous added sugars are. Luckily we have food labels that tell us how much sugar is in the product that we’re buying. Right? Well…………sort of. Again, why is the sugar information listed in grams?  What makes more sense to you………24 grams of sugar or 6 teaspoons of sugar? Sugar should be listed as teaspoons because teaspoons make sense to us!

Sorry for the rant. At least I only discussed TWO issues that bug me!

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Bean and Barley Vegetable Soup


1 onion, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

2 large carrots, diced

1 zucchini, diced

1 T vegetable oil

8 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup pearled barley, uncooked

1 cup pinto or white beans, pre-soaked if dry (see note below*)

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes

1/4 t salt

1/2 t pepper

1/4 t celery salt

1/2 t dried basil

1/2 t oregano

1/2 t thyme

2 large bay leaves


In a large soup pot, sauté the onions, celery, carrots, and zucchini for 4-5 minutes until soft. Add the broth, all of the other ingredients and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to medium low.

Simmer for at least an hour, stirring occasionally, until the barley is soft and somewhat fluffy. Add more spices to taste, discard bay leaves and enjoy!

*NOTE: You can soak the beans for 6 hours or overnight. A quicker method is to put the beans in cold water and bring them gently to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow them to remain in the water for 1 to 2 hours only.

(Adapted from a recipe found on

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Boy was this storm a real nightmare. Most of my family, friends and clients in the tri-state area faired very well, all things considered. The biggest obstacle was the loss of power.

The one thing I found consistent across the board was the eating and drinking fest that occurred, much to most people’s dismay. We were stuck in the house, out of our routine, out of work, and bored.  I heard things like, “I gained 5 lbs”; “If this continues I will be a 600 lb alcoholic”; “I drank so much red wine I could float away.” and “Why can’t I stop eating??”

I’m all for healthy eating and drinking in moderation but I think at times like this, we have to succumb and just go with it. Things look like they will start to get back to “normal” soon and when they do, that will be the time for us to re-focus. But for now……….pop the cork and pass the chips.

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