Archive for December, 2017


It’s that time of year!! It’s time to make black-eyed peas for New Year’s day! In the South, they are thought to bring prosperity, so I’m making them!! Putting aside their prosperity powers,  black eyed peas are loaded with fiber. They are also a good source of protein!


1 pound dried black-eyed peas (fresh or canned black-eyed peas can be substituted)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 ounces pork shoulder, diced into ½-inch cubes

4 strips thick sliced bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces

1 medium onion, small diced

4 garlic cloves, sliced

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

4 cups chicken stock

2 cups water

3 bay leaves


If using dried black-eyed peas, put them in a large pot and cover with about 4 inches of water. Soak the peas overnight, then drain the water and rinse. Alternatively, you can “quick-soak” the peas by bringing them and the water to a boil for 2 minutes. After this, remove them from the heat, cover the pot and soak the peas for 1 hour. Then, drain and rinse the peas.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the pork. Sear until the pork is browned on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the bacon, onion and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, until the onion and garlic are lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the salt, black pepper, cayenne and garlic powder. Cook until the entire mixture is coated with the spices, about 2 minutes. Pour in the stock and water and drop in the bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.

When the pork begins to fall apart, add the prepared peas to the pot and simmer until the peas are very soft, about 1 to 1 ½ hours (see Cook’s Note).

Taste for seasonings, and add some hot-pepper vinegar, if desired. Discard the bay leaves and transfer the black-eyed peas to a serving bowl.

Cook’s Note: Using the back of a spoon, smash some of the peas against the inside of the pot then stir them into the mixture. This will break up some of the peas and give them a creamier consistency. Alternatively, you can puree 1 cup of the peas and broth in a blender or a food processor, then return the puree to the pot.

 (Adapted from a recipe found on

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It’s that time of year again. We are coming off of the holiday season, which has been filled with flowing alcohol and a plethora of rich food. This means that we are all ready o-NEW-YEARS-RESOLUTIONS-2014-CANADA-facebookto buckle up and get serious come January.  I don’t mind anyone setting New Year’s resolutions. I love a good goal and something to work towards. However, I DO have a problem with the way we set them.

When I was studying to be a personal trainer, I learned the mnemonic SMART for goal setting. SMART stands for

Specific    Measurable    Attainable    Realistic    Time-framed

A NON-smart goal would be “I want to lose weight” whereas a SMART goal would be “I want to lose 10 lbs in 2 ½- 3 months”.

Most women that I know, have a real problem with that letter R. Women, in my experience, tend to be overachievers.  This leads them to set unrealistic goals. Instead of “In January, I want to make sure that I do a cardio workout 1x a week”, I hear “I’m going to start doing a cardio workout 3x a week”. If you are starting something new, the first goal is realistic; the second isn’t. Many of you will argue that doing a cardio workout once a week is not enough. I am NOT saying that it is, but it will lead you down the path to eventually achieve your goal.

Let’s take a closer look. Scenario one, you set your workout goal to 3x a week. Life then starts to get in the way. You can’t do 3x a week most weeks. You start to feel frustrated and annoyed. You feel disappointed with yourself. Since you can’t do this 3x a week, you stop going to the gym.

Scenario two: you set your workout goal to 1x a week. You are able to do this and it feels great. Now, your once-a-week-workout will be associated with this feeling of well-being. It might even motivate you to start fitting in another workout. This is a realistic.  Once set and achieved, you will have an incredible sense of accomplishment. And it’s with this sense of accomplishment, that you will be able to, once again, figure out how to fit in that last workout.

In scenario one, the goal is forgotten by the end of January. In scenario two, you might be working out 3x a week by March or April.

Realistic goal setting can be applied to ANY goal.

So please, you overachievers, don’t overachieve when goal setting. Remember that R in SMART! Be realistic so you can be successful. Then, share your stories with me!

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This recipe DOES have a long list of ingredients but it’s worth it. It somehow works!  I love it because it’s a great vegetarian dish OR you can eat it as a delicious side dish. It’s warm and filling and hearty and wintery! Perfect for the cold weather!


3 cups water

1 ½ cups dried lentils

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 bay leaf

1½ teaspoons olive oil

2 cups chopped onion

1 ½ cups chopped peeled celeriac (celery root)

1 cup diced parsnip

1 cup diced carrot

1 tablespoon minced fresh or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon, divided

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 garlic clove, minced

2/3 cup dry red wine

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon butter

¼ teaspoon black pepper


Combine water, lentils, ½ teaspoon salt, and bay leaf in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes. Remove lentils from heat, and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a medium cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celeriac, parsnip, carrot, and 1 ½ teaspoons tarragon, and sauté́ 10 minutes or until browned. Stir in ½ teaspoon salt, tomato paste, and garlic; cook mixture 1 minute. Stir in wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in mustard. Add lentil mixture, and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; discard bay leaf, and stir in butter, 1 ½ teaspoons tarragon, and pepper.

(This recipe came from Cooking Light, March 2000)


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Every now and then, your daughter, mother, husband or some other loved one will say something to you that will cause a major eye roll. Well, now it’s my turn.

It’s December. After all of the festivities, many of you will be thinking about New Year’s download.jpgresolutions and I have 2 suggestions that we all need to be doing.



Aging isn’t fun. If you’re over 50, you will see that stiffness is a part of life. Tight muscles restrict your range of motion around your joints making even daily activities (bending, lifting, reaching) more difficult. We seem to associate stretching with exercise but stretching your body daily will protect your mobility and, eventually, your independence.

Unfortunately, stretching is completely underrated and yet it is one of the most effective ways to prevent injuries and to have a good quality of life. Tight muscles can cause lower back pain, poor posture and muscular imbalances. Who wants to be stooped over, hobbling around, and feeling constantly stiff? I can’t stress the importance enough. Stretching will not only make your body feel better, but you will be giving yourself a tremendous gift in the long term. The best way to start is to go on you tube and find a stretching routine that you can follow. Make it a part of your daily routine. DO IT!!! It will be the best investment in you!


There are so many reasons why we need to be drinking water but I want to focus on just one: Drinking water prevents fatigue. Our blood is 92% water. If we don’t drink enough,  there will be less water in our blood. Less water means a lower blood volume. A lower blood volume means that the heart has to work harder to pump oxygenated blood around the body.  Our organs start to work less efficiently. Drinking water allows our bodies to function better.

Often, when a client comes to me complaining about feeling tired I find that it’s usually coming from one of two things: a lousy diet OR not enough water. How much water should you be drinking? There many formulas out there (one says to drink in ounces 2/3 of your body weight and then adjust for sweating), but I advise my clients to drink enough so that when they go to the bathroom, their pee is clear. Like any change, if you are not a big water drinker, SLOWLY ease into drinking more and increase gradually. Add some lemon, lime or orange to your water. I love drinking water with cucumber slices. Make water as palatable as you can so you’ll drink it.

You can eye roll me all you want but I am telling you that stretching your body and drinking more water will absolutely make you feel better in 2018!







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Once again, Ina Garten (aka The Barefoot Contessa) does NOT disappoint. This chicken chili is hearty and healthy. It’s a very large recipe, which means that there will be plenty left over to freeze. Perfect for this chilly weather!   

ingredients (serves 6) 1384540890111

3 yellow onions, chopped (3 onions)

2 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for chicken

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large- diced

2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

1-2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for chicken

2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes in puree, undrained

¼ cup minced fresh basil leaves

4 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on Freshly ground black pepper

ingredients for serving

Chopped onions, low-fat grated cheddar,  low-fat sour cream/Greek yogurt


Cook the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Crush the tomatoes by hand or in batches in a food processor fitted with a steel blade (pulse 6 to 8 times). Add to the pot with the basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked. Let cool slightly. Separate the meat from the bones and skin and cut it into 3/4-inch chunks. Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.

(Adapted Ina Garten’s recipe found on

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