Comments Off on Pumpkin Foodie: Pumpkin & Pasta

Pumpkin Foodie: Pumpkin & Pasta

Category : Healthy Eating

1/2 small sugar pumpkin
4 T extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
1/2 t salt
2 T honey
1/2 lb. whole grain pasta
2 t minced garlic
2 minced anchovies (optional…we skipped these)
1/2 C  finely chopped walnuts
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese

1) Peel half of a small sugar pumpkin and cut into 1-inch chunks.  (about 4 cups) Toss with 2 Tbsp olive oil, salt & honey. Roast on a baking sheet at 425 degrees until tender, about 45 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. When done cooking, drain but reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water.
3) When pumpkin is done is cooking, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add minced garlic, cook about 1 minutes (until garlic is softening) then add walnuts and pumpkin. Stir to combine without smashing pumpkin chunks.
4) Combine pasta with 1/2 cup pasta cooking water and Parmesan cheese. Drizzle with more olive oil.
5) Transfer to bowl and toss with pumpkin mixture. Serve!

Nutritional info(serves 4):
521 calories
5 g saturated fate
21 g unsaturated fat
61 carb
16 g protein (that would be with the anchovies, mind you)
7 g fiber  

Comments Off on The only Brussel Sprouts I’ve ever enjoyed!

The only Brussel Sprouts I’ve ever enjoyed!

Category : Healthy Eating

We’ve been meaning to share this amazing recipe from Eben Erhard ever since he unexpectedly showed up on our door step one winter in December with a sample.  Truly the only Brussel Sprouts I’ve ever enjoyed.  If you don’t know Eben, he is the husband of our trainer Lori. 

Here’s a note from Eben:

“On a whim for Thanksgiving I decided that along with the standard boring side dishes, I should add something healthy to the menu and what’s not to love about Brussels sprouts?  Lots, according to some people I guess, but I was not to be deterred.  What I came up with seemed to be more than palatable.  I hope you will agree.

The lovely Brussels Sprout is a great fall vegetable and cool to grow even you are reluctant to eat it.  They take the cold temperatures of fall and store well making them a great late season food.  My initial sprouts came from the grocery store, but later I found some in their natural form at the Green Bay winter farmer’s market.”

Brussel Sprouts in their natural form

Brussel Sprouts in their natural form









Ingredients for Brussels Sprouts ala Eben:

1 – 2 cups of Brussels sprouts, halved or quartered depending on size.

1/3 T Coarse salt: Kosher Sea Salt

1T Olive oil

1 stalk celery

¼ cup chopped onions

1 small apple (or 3/4s of one if you are hungry)

¼ pepitas (pumpkin seeds – I used roasted with no salt)


Shake the Brussels sprouts in a sealed container with enough olive oil to coat and a scant ½ teaspoon of salt. 

Place on cookie sheet or other backing pan and roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Brussel Sprouts ready for roasting






While the sprouts are roasting chop up the onion, celery and apples into ¼ to ½ inch pieces. 

Other key ingredients

Other key ingredients clockwise: pepitas, celery, onion, apple








After the sprouts have been in the oven for 15 minutes, caramelize the onions with some olive oil over medium high heat.  After about 1-2 minutes add the celery.  Cook until the onions have a nice translucent quality stirring often.  Add Brussels sprouts, apples and pepitas and cook for a minute or so until the chill is taken off the apples and you are ready to serve.

Brussel sprouts-the finished product







Nutrition Analysis:  Makes 3  servings.  175 calories/serving including 6g protein, 16g carbs, 10g fat, and 4 g of fiber.

Comments Off on Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

Category : Healthy Eating

We declared Barb B. the princess of our pumpkin party for recommending this delicious and satisfying soup that turns out to be a celebrity weight loss secret.  Because this simple recipe makes a large quantity of soup, you can freeze servings to curb cravings anytime you need some comfort food without blowing your diet.  Our version differs from the original by using low fat coconut milk to maintain that guilty richness.

Butternut Squash Soup
In a large pot, saute until translucent:
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2T olive oil
Then add, bring to a boil and simmer 25-30 minutes until easy to pierce with a fork :
4 cups vegetable broth (canned or made from bullion)
1 large (2lb+) butternut squash, peeled and cubed in 1″ pieces
1 medium potato: any kind, cubed
2 large carrots, diced or sliced into 1/4 rounds
Remove from heat and add:
1 can low fat coconut milk
Next, puree  in batches using a regular or handheld immersion blender.  Then adjust the seasoning to your taste with salt & pepper, maybe even a dash of any one of the following: curry powder, garam masala, cinnamon or nutmeg.
110 calories per 1 cup servings (a bowl is likely a 2 cup serving)
4g fat, 16g carbohydrates,2g protein, 1g fiber, 340mg sodium


Comments Off on Friday Foodie: Zucchini Quiche on the Grill

Friday Foodie: Zucchini Quiche on the Grill

Category : Healthy Eating

So it turns out that real men not only eat quiche, they make it on the grill! The idea of baking things in my kitchen while the air conditioning is running is just unthinkable so Iphoto (4) resorted to using the grill as my oven and it worked reasonably well. Previously this summer I’ve baked lasagna and boiled a few dinners. It’s my summer kitchen.

This week’s Friday Foodie is Gini M. who introduced me to the recipe I adapted from Grain-Free Gourmet authors Jodi Bager and Jenny Lass. Thanks also to our business manager, Jennifer, who supplied the monster zucchini and Grandma Zuehlke from whom I inherited the 9×13 aluminum pan that is a prized possession in our kitchen. I doubled the quantities to make a 9×13″ pan to ensure leftovers for lunches.

This is not a ‘low calorie’ nor a ‘low fat’ recipe, however it is extremely satisfying and is a Low Carb Meal for our VEMMA carb-cycling clients .

Zucchini Crusted Quiche (makes 9×13″ pan, cut in half for a 9 or 10″ pie pan)
4 cups shredded zucchini patted dry

Zucchini Crust!

Zucchini Crust!

2 eggs
1 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese or Mozzarella cheese

8 eggs
2 cups plain yogurt ((I used 50/50 yogurt/cottage cheese)
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 10oz chopped frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
1 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese (I just used Mozzarella because I had it)
1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese (I used 1 cup parmesan and 1 cup Mozzarella)

1. Preheat your oven to 350′ or turn all burners on your grill to low (obviously not an exact science, but since when has my cooking been scientific?)

Chopped Spinach

Chopped Spinach

2. Grate a Wisconsin-sized zucchini, then use a towel to squeeze all the excess water out of it to get about 4 cups of shredded Zucchini.
3. Mix shredded zucchini with 2 eggs and 1 cup Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese.
4. Press into a lightly greased 9×13″ pan and up the sides a bit to make the ‘crust’
5. Bake the crust for 20-30 minutes until cooked through and the edges are browned.

1. Make the batter: Mix together 8 eggs, 2 cups of plain yogurt, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon each of nutmeg, cayenne and black pepper.
2. Distribute the chopped spinach on top of the cooked zucchini crust.
3. Layer the cheeses on top.
4. Pour the batter on top.
5. Turn up the grill to medium high (oven to 450′) and bake for 10 minutes.
6. Reduce the grill to low (oven to 350′) and bake 20-30 minutes.
7. Remove from the grill/oven when a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Zucchini Crusted Quiche

Zucchini Crusted Quiche

Nutrition (estimated)
Serving size 1/12 pan (3″x 4″ piece)
Calories: 322
Protein: 27g
Fat: 20g
Carbs: 10g
Sodium: 710mg (fairly high, try omitting salt to drop to 560mg/serving)

Comments Off on Friday Foodie: Blackened Fish Tacos

Friday Foodie: Blackened Fish Tacos

Category : Healthy Eating

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos

Our client Anne M recommended these and they are delicious AND easy.  The original recipe came from Cooking Light’s March 2011 issue.  As advertised, when you add the optional sauce, they taste like something right off the food truck!  Gluten free too.
Optional Jalapeno sauce
Puree together:
    1/4 cup plain Greek Yogurt (or reduced fat Sour Cream)
    2 Tablespoons chopped fresh Cilantro
    2 Tablespoons fresh Lime Juice
    1 Jalapeno Pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
Then add but do not blend:
Jalapeno Sauce
Jalapeno-Onion Sauce
     1 cup thinly sliced White Onion
 Blackening Spice
Mix together:
    1 1/2 teaspoons Paprika
    1 1/2 teaspoons Brown Sugar
    1 teaspoon dry Oregano
    3/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
    1/2 teaspoon Salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground Cumin
    1/4 teaspoon ground Red Pepper (cayenne or chipotle)  (I used 1/8 teaspoon so I wouldn’t freak out the kids)
Note:  You could make double or triple and store the extra in a shaker to make this recipe faster
Blacken that Fish!
Spice mixture
Sprinkle the Blackening Spice to evenly coat:
     1 lb to 1 1/2lbs of Tilapia (defrosted and patted dry with a paper towel)
Next, Heat 1 Tablespoon canola oil on medium -high heat in a frying pan.   Cook the fish for about 3 minutes per side.  Fish should flake when done.
Serve immediately with:
Preheated Corn Tortillas
Lime Wedges
Avocado (thinly sliced)
Jalepeno sauce (optional)

Comments Off on Friday Foodie: Eggplant Palooza

Friday Foodie: Eggplant Palooza

Category : Healthy Eating

Our neighbor had a few extra eggplants that they had grown and I happily took them.  I thought I’d make one of my favorite

Eggplants arranged with Daisies

Small Eggplants

eggplant recipes, baba ghanouj (pronounced ga-new), but one of my clients always talks about how good his eggplant Parmesan is, so I made that instead.  The eggplant is baked instead of fried, but it is still breaded which admittedly reduces its diet-worthiness. (My recipe for grill-cooked baba ghanouj is at the bottom of this post).

Eggplant Parmesan  (Adapted from a Meatless Monday recipe)
-1 large eggplant or up to 3 smallish ones (which is what I had)
– 1 cup flour
-2 eggs
-1/2 cup milk
-2 cups italian bread crumbs (or more)
-2 cups of your favorite marinara type spaghetti or pizza sauce
-1/2 cup parmesan cheese
-1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (optional, omit for lower fat/calorie version)
Breaded and Baked Eggplant

Breaded and Baked Eggplant

My client Jim E. says the secret to his Eggplant Parmesan is to remove as much water from the eggplant as possible ahead of time.  He does this by slicing the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick discs, lightly salting them and placing them in a single layer between two kitchen towels for at least 30 minutes.  

Preheat your oven to 400′ and cooking spray two cookie sheets (or ‘grease’ with olive oil). 

Next, put the flour in a bowl and dredge each slice of eggplant until they are coated and set eggplant aside.   Add the Italian bread

crumbs to remaining flour (or dump out the flour, your choice).  Scramble the two eggs and milk together in a bowl.  Dunk a slice of eggplant into the milk and egg mixture and then dredge to coat in the bread crumbs.  Arrange breaded eggplant onto your prepared cookie sheets.  Repeat until all the eggplant is coated, or your hands

Completed Eggplant Parmasan

Eggplant Parmesan

get so disgusting that you decide to throw it all out and go out for dinner (only to remember you left the oven on ;-).

Put the eggplant in the oven for 10 minutes.  Pull it out, flip the eggplant slices and bake again for 10 minutes.  Remove the eggplant from the oven and TURN THE OVEN DOWN to 350′.

Next, put the browned eggplant into a greased 9×13 pan, layer in an overlapped fashion as needed to fit it all in.  Pour the two cups of marinara sauce on top and then sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove your eggplant from the oven and remove the aluminum foil.  (You can add the mozzarella now if desired).   Put it back in the oven and bake uncovered about 10 – 15 minutes until the cheese looks bubbly or slightly browned.  We recommend serving with extra marinara sauce and a gorgeous salad.

Baba Ghanouj (A delicious eggplant dip)
-1 large eggplant
-2 cloves of garlic
-2 Tablespoon lemon juice or juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon
-1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin or coriander(optional)
-2 Tablespoons Tahini (optional, none for low fat, or up to 4T to taste)
-1 Tablespoon Olive oil (also optional for low fat version)

Roast the eggplant until mushy soft.  You can do this several ways and here is a link to a great photo series.  Method one: On the grill, prick the eggplant and wrap in aluminum foil and bake on low heat, rotating 1/4 turn every 8-10 minutes until very soft.  Method two: prick and wrap in aluminum foil as before but bake at 350′ in oven for 45-60 minutes until very soft (use a pan or cookie sheet to catch drips).  Method three: Slice eggplant in half and place face down in greased pan  and put under broiler for 15-30 minutes  until charred and very soft.  Method four: Prick eggplant and place on a couple paper towels or in bowl and microwave on high until it deflates 8-15 minutes depending on size (This last method loses that tasty smokey flavor, but it is the quickest.)

 When cool enough to handle, scoop out the soft insides and put into blender with any captured juices and all other ingredients.  Blend until smooth and enjoy with fresh vegetables or on a sandwich.  Try to avoid using every bread and cracker in the house to scoop it up or you’ll blow this otherwise healthy food!  Enjoy, -XO

Comments Off on Friday Foodie: 15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta

Friday Foodie: 15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta

Category : Healthy Eating

Two things attracted us to this recipe:

  1. 15 minutes…we love any dinner item that takes only 15 minutes!
  2. Avocado…we love avocado (although it’s really hard to spell!)

We want to give credit where credit is due, so the source of this recipe is

Bowtie pasta with creamy avocado sauce

Bowtie pasta with creamy avocado sauce


  • 1 medium sized ripe Avocado, pitted
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced + lemon zest to garnish (use caution, it is easy to make this too tart)
  • 1-3 garlic cloves, to taste (we used 3 b/c we love garlic, but if you’re not a big fan use less)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • ~1/4 cup Fresh Basil
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 servings/6 oz of your choice of pasta (We like Barilla brand pasta in the yellow box)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Bring several cups of water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add in your pasta, reduce heat to medium, and cook until Al Dente, about 8-10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, make the sauce by placing the garlic cloves, lemon juice (be careful with the lemon juice…you can always add more, but you can’t take it out…the first time we made this it was WAY TOO TART), and olive oil into a food processor. Process until smooth. Now add in the pitted avocado, basil, and salt. Process until smooth and creamy. Ryan says next time he would omit the olive oil and just blend up the other sauce ingredients.

3. When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse in a strainer and place pasta into a large bowl. Pour on sauce and toss until fully combined. Garnish with lemon zest and black pepper. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.

Please note: This dish does not reheat well due to the avocado in the sauce. Please serve immediately.


Comments Off on Friday Foodie: Crunchy Chickpeas Snack

Friday Foodie: Crunchy Chickpeas Snack

Category : Healthy Eating

One of our clients suggested that we try this super simple savory snack.  Low in fat and high in fiber these are a nicely satisfying snack that ranks high in the nutrition world.

A bowl of crunchy chickpeas

Crunchy Chickpeas

 Each 1/4 cup of crunchy goodness has 120 calories comprised of 2g fat, 6g protein, 20g carbs (including 6g of fiber: that’s a whopping 24% of the recommended daily allowance of fiber).  Omit the salt and use chickpeas made from dry if you are concerned about your sodium intake.

Crunchy Chickpeas (makes 1 3/4 cups):
  • 2 cans (3 1/2 cups cooked) Chickpeas
  • A whimsical mixture of your favorite spices (see suggestions)
  • popcorn salt (for after cooking)
Method: Drain and rinse chickpeas, then pour onto a dish towel and pat dry.  Place into a largish bowl and sprinkle with spice mixture, then stir well.  Pour chickpeas onto a non-stick  jellyroll pan (cookie sheet with low sides) and pop in the oven at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.  Bake until mostly crunchy and allow to cool.  Use popcorn salt to adjust saltiness if needed.  Although not required by most recipes I reviewed, I would suggest refrigerating them if you aren’t going to eat them within a few days.
I successfully made these on our grill with both burners on their lowest setting so I wouldn’t heat up the house.  I used  a spatula to stir them every 5-10 minutes as the grill
Chickpeas being roasted on the grill instead of the oven.

A grill is your summer oven!

doesn’t cook quite as evenly as an oven.  (Some “extra crispy” chickpeas happened anyway.)
Spice suggestions for your signature super simple savory subtly spicy snack*:
  • 1/2 teaspoon of: cumin & 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of each coriander and paprika (or smoked paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon curry, either hot or sweet
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of any premixed seasoning blend, ie: Nature’s seasoning, Pleasonings, Lawry’s etc…
  • Note: Do not use spice mixtures containing sugar as it will burn. 

*Now say “signature super simple savory subtly spicy snack” five times fast!   Enjoy -XO

Comments Off on Friday Foodie: Blueberry Health Muffins

Friday Foodie: Blueberry Health Muffins

Category : Healthy Eating

This time of year you can buy blueberries by the quart instead of by the pint. Sometimes we get overzealous at the Farmers Market and have so many we have to start making everything with blueberries! This week we’ve made blueberry pancakes, blueberry smoothies and blueberry muffins.

I tore this recipe out of a Whole Living magazine a few years back. It has become a favorite at our house and I’ve even brought a batch into the studio on occasion to share with clients.

blueberry muffins

Muffin Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (we usually don’t have white flour in the house, so I make it with all whole-wheat flour and it turns out fine)
  • 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • (I also like to add 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries

Muffin topping ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. wheat germ
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Mix dry ingredients. Add milk, oil, eggs and vanilla; stir until just mixed. Gently fold in blueberries. 
  • Divide evenly among 12 lined muffin cups. We like to use a regular size ice cream scoop for this.
  • Sprinkle tops of muffins with muffin topping.
  • Bake approximately 20 minutes…until a toothpick comes out clean.
blueberry muffin

Full of juicy berries!

Nutrition Information (per muffin)

196 calories; 1 g saturated fat; 5 g unsaturated fat; 36 mg cholesterol;

30 g carb; 5 g protein; 2 g fiber


If you want to read all about the benefits of blueberries

in your diet check out The World’s Healthiest Foods

Comments Off on Friday Friday Foodie: Avocado Salsa

Friday Friday Foodie: Avocado Salsa

Category : Healthy Eating

This week’s Friday Foodie is Nicole C. who suggested this most delicious salsa from one of my favorite food websites:

salsa ingredients

Salsa ingredients   If you haven’t checked epicurious out, you can type in a main ingredient and come up with a list of recipes that incorporate your searched ingredient along with excellent reviews and ratings.  It is an un-abashedly flavor first, damn the calories website, so it is wise to be calorie wary when surfing their delicious recipes.

Simple and delicious, the original recipe adds more olive oil than we would without sacrificing flavor.  That said, we’ve tweaked the recipe with 1/2 the olive oil (subtract roughly 200 calories) and we strongly suspect that 1/4 the olive oil (1T) would be un-noticeable.  Here’s our take:

Avocado Salsa:

  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    Not your typical pico!

    Avocado Salsa

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (try 1 tablespoon, it’s probably plenty and you can always add more)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 to 2 large jalapeño chilies, seeded but not deveined, minced
  • 1 large avocado, diced

Mix well and serve!  Enjoy with friends to savor the fresh wonder of this simple recipe.  -XO