Archive for January, 2017


The other day a client asked me, “Rhonda, is it really bad that I don’t cook?” My response was………. YES! I could tell that this was NOT the answer she wanted. But if you’re not eating your own food, you are either eating processed food, or food that was prepared by someone else. In both cases, there are many hidden, unhealthy ingredients that you might not be aware of.

I understand why people don’t like to cook—I used to be one of those people. The greatest CON is that it’s time consuming. You need time to think about what you want to make, look through recipes, shop and cook. And since we all have 24-hours in a day, it means that we have to steal time from someplace else and put it towards cooking. (Just like Robin Hood)

However, the greatest PRO about cooking is that it is the ultimate way to take care of imgres.jpgyourself. Home cooked meals can be interesting, healthy, flavorful, and full of nutrients. You can control how much fat, sugar and salt to use. You can tailor make meals to add more of the things that you like.

The best way to start is to look for simple recipes containing few ingredients. I did a google search, “simple healthy recipes with few ingredients” and found a ton of great websites including this cooking light website, where all the recipes have five ingredients.

If you never cook, plan to make one meal a week. See how that goes. Then slowly add in another meal when you’re ready.

I am a huge podcast fan so often, I will listen to one while I am cooking. Maybe you would like listen to some music. Or just bask in the quiet.  Or cook with your kids.

Cooking can be intense, cumbersome and tedious if you’re following a complex recipe. So keep it simple. Choose easy to follow recipes with a few ingredients and you’ll be on your way in no time. You might even be surprised at how good the food tastes and how empowered you feel!



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A big thanks to my friend, Audrey, who told me about Ottolenghi. What an amazing chef with incredible recipes! I made this dish tonight and it tasted like summer even though we’re still stuck in January!

ingredients reocb0010013_b_1

1 lb French beans (haricot vert)

1 lb snow peas

¼ cup unskinned hazelnuts

1 orange

small bunch of chives, roughly chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp hazelnut oil (or another nut oil, if unavailable)

coarse sea salt and black pepper


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Using a small, sharp knife, trim the stalk ends off the French beans and the snow peas, keeping the two separate. Bring plenty of unsalted water to boil in a large saucepan – you need lots of space for the beans, as this is crucial for preserving their color.

Blanch the French beans in the water for 4 minutes, then drain into a colander and run them under plenty of tap water until cold. Leave to drain and dry. Repeat with the snow peas, but blanch for only 1 minute.

While the beans are cooking, scatter the hazelnuts over a baking tray and roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Leave until cool enough to handle, then rub them in a clean tea-towel to get rid of most of the skin. Chop the nuts with a large, sharp knife. They should be quite rough; some can even stay whole.

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the orange in strips, being careful to avoid the bitter white pith. Slice each piece of zest into very thin strips (if you have a citrus zester, you could do the whole job with that).

To assemble the dish, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, toss gently, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve at room temperature.

(Adapted from a recipe found on

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Mushrooms, capers and basil in chicken cacciatore? YES! And it works!!! This dish is too easy not to make!

ingredients Chicken-Cacciatore

2 T olive oil

1 ½ -2 lbs. skinless chicken parts (bone-in, breasts, thighs, legs)

½ t salt

½ t black pepper

½ onion, minced

½ red bell pepper, finely diced

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbs. capers, drained

1, 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 cup lower-sodium chicken broth

1 T fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped


In a large skillet with high sides, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high heat, coating the bottom of the pan. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper and place in the pan. Sear the chicken until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

With the same pan still on medium-high heat, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, the onions, and the peppers, and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until the onions become translucent. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the capers and diced tomatoes.

Return the chicken to the pan and pour in the chicken broth until it covers the chicken pieces. Reduce heat to medium and bring everything to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and continue to simmer until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 30 minutes.

Garnish with the chopped basil and serve hot.

(Adapted from a recipe found in Experience Life, April, 2016)

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Boy does this black bean soup have some amazing KICK! It’s the perfect dish to warm up on a cold day.  Super healthy, too!


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 large carrots, sliced

2 celery stalks, sliced

2, 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained

4-6 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth

½ cup prepared chipotle salsa

1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice

4 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream (optional)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)


Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, 5 minutes. Add chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring, 1 minute more.  Add the carrots and celery. Stir to coat in spices and cook for 5 minutes. Add a splash of broth if needed.

Add 4 cups of broth and salsa.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the beans. Cook for another 10 minutes. Add more broth if necessary. Remove from the heat and stir in lemon or lime juice.

Transfer half the soup to a blender and puree. (You can also use an immersion blender.)  Stir the puree back into the saucepan. Serve garnished with sour cream and cilantro, if desired.

(Adapted rom a recipe found on



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How can cabbage taste THIS good???? Thank you, again, NY Times!!!


1 large red cabbage, 2 to 2 ½  pounds, quartered, cored and cut crosswise in thin strips

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 small onion, thinly sliced

2 tart apples, such as Braeburn or granny smith, peeled, cored and sliced

About 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

¼ teaspoon ground allspice


freshly ground pepper to taste


Prepare the cabbage, and cover with cold water while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, lidded skillet or casserole, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until just about tender, about three minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the balsamic vinegar and cook, stirring, until the mixture is golden, about three minutes, then add the apples and stir for two to three minutes.

Drain the cabbage and add to the pot. Toss to coat thoroughly, then stir in the allspice, another 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and salt to taste. Toss together. Cover the pot, and cook over low heat for one hour, stirring from time to time. Add freshly ground pepper, taste and adjust salt, and add another tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar as desired.

(Recipe from

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