Thanksgiving recipe! Spinach salad with apples, cherries & pecans

Thanksgiving recipe! Spinach salad with apples, cherries & pecans

Good Lord- Thanksgiving is less than 2 weeks away! There is no good reason why you can’t be the hero and bring this beautiful seasonal salad to dinner.

This salad starts with spinach, which is a great source of lutein and beta-carotene. These nutrients help prevent macular degeneration and night blindness, respectively. It’s also a source of potassium, which helps lower blood pressure during this stressful holiday season. Add a crisp apple or two, chopped pecans and dried cherries, and you’re set.

This recipe calls for blue cheese, which I consider the Brussels sprouts of cheese. It’s quite polarizing. You either love it or hate it. You can always substitute feta cheese or leave the cheese out. Chopped walnuts or almonds could be used in place of pecans and raisins or dried cranberries would work in place of dried cherries.

You’ll be surprised at how LITTLE salad dressing you need for this salad. I prefer to taste mostly salad and keep my dressing light when I make salad. This also saves calories and fat in the recipe.

Enjoy and have a happy, healthy holiday!



1 bag baby spinach leaves

1/3 cup dried cherries (cranberries may be substituted)

1 Granny Smith or other tart/firm apple

2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1 Tbsp. crumbled Bleu cheese or feta cheese


1/3 cup olive oil

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. honey


Wash & dry spinach leaves and place in a large bowl.

Wash and cut the apples into small chunks and add to spinach.

Add chopped nuts, cherries and cheese crumbles.

Mix ingredients for dressing.

Drizzle dressing over salad (and toss) right before serving.

Makes 6 servings.  Nutrition information per serving:  194 calories, 16 grams fat, 3.4 grams protein, 10 grams carbohydrate, 2.5 grams fiber, 1 mg cholesterol, 338 mg sodium.


Food pun swag sale- great for dietitians, chefs and more!

Food pun swag sale- great for dietitians, chefs and more!

If you’re not a dietitian, you’ll wonder what the heck FNCE means. It stands for Food, Nutrition, Conference & Expo and is one of the largest (if not largest) food and nutrition conferences in the US. It is sponsored by AND (the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics) and celebrates dietitians and other food and health professionals globally. There are updates on nutrition-related topics on weight management, diabetes, heart health, functional foods, culinary arts and more. It’s a 4-day event full of networking, new food products and cutting edge education.

This year it was held in downtown Philly, right near the famous Reading terminal market. Philly is full of history and great food. It could not have been a more perfect city to host this big foodie fest. The convention center in Philadelphia was massive but perfect to hold over 10.000 dietitians in attendance.

One thing “missing” this year (according to my friends and colleagues) was a food pun tee or swag booth. Almost every year, there is at least ONE company selling some form of food pun swag, be it tee shirts, mugs, totes or badge reels. This year, that was not present. Many food companies have adopted food puns, which brings me great joy.

I never miss an opportunity to wear and share my own line of food pun items. I will most certainly have a booth at the conference next year in Indianapolis. Serving Ohio as president this year took me to lots of meetings at FNCE, so the shirts did not make it, except on my own back. Stalker (shown here) got plenty of laughs.

In honor of FNCE, I’m offering a 19% discount on all food pun items until Friday at midnight. Grab a gift for a foodie friend. They are great for chefs, dietitians or anyone who loves to eat and has a sense of humor. Use FNCE19 at check out.

Instant Pot Risotto

Instant Pot Risotto

While the grain-avoiders are eating cauliflower rice, you can be enjoying delicious risotto! My family and I love this Italian favorite, but it was not a recipe I relished making. Traditional risotto requires a lot of “babysitting” at the stove. You have to stir the stuff constantly to get the creamy, distinctive texture. But, I found a work around!

If you’ve got an Instant Pot, it’s the perfect way to cook risotto. You can sautee your veggies and rice in it, then set it to do its work without having to hang out by your stove for 30 minutes. Here’s how I made this:


1 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup Arborio rice

1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Freshly ground pepper


  1. Place the butter, olive oil and rice in the instant pot and turn the setting to sautee. Add the onions, garlic and rice.
  2. With the lid open, sautee the onions, garlic and rice until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the chicken broth and stir. Close the lid and set the instant pot on high for 5 minutes.
  4. Once the pot beeps, exhaust the steam and open the pot. Flush the rice with a wooden spoon.
  5. Serve the risotto with freshly ground pepper and Parmesan cheese.

Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!


Sauteed Shrimp with Spinach and Anise

Sauteed Shrimp with Spinach and Anise

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a simple gal with simple taste. Basically, I want healthy food that tastes good, but doesn’t take forever to create. I came across some frozen shrimp while grabbing ice earlier and it put me in the mood for seafood. I’m a fan of trying new new flavors, but almost always include my standbys of garlic, salt and pepper.

On a nutritional note, I have a personal mission of eating at minimum- 1 cup of leafy greens a day. Regular intake of leafy greens has been found to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and dementia. Today I combined shrimp with spinach, anise seed and leftover rice. Anise has a lovely licorice-like flavor that really complimented the shrimp and spinach. Let me tell you- it was delightful! Below is the recipe:


2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. anise seeds

15-20 baby shrimp

2 cups frozen spinach

1 cup cooked rice

salt & pepper to taste

Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Using a medium sized skillet, heat olive oil to medium heat.
  2. Add shrimp, garlic and anise seeds and sautee for 5 to 7 minutes until shrimp is opaque.
  3. Add cooked rice and frozen spinach. Cook for another 3 minutes until spinach is bright green.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with shredded Parmesan cheese.

Makes 2 servings. Recipe can be doubled or tripled to feed a bigger crowd.

Instant Pot Stir Fried Chicken & Vegetables

Instant Pot Stir Fried Chicken & Vegetables

I haven’t posted a recipe in a while, but I have an excuse! I’ve been writing a cookbook about gout! It’s been a lot of fun to find recipes that are low in purines (a compound that increases uric acid in the body, which can precipitate a gout attack), in addition to being anti-inflammatory (meaning, the recipes are high in anti-oxidants and healthy fats). If all goes well, it should be published by late March. More on that later.

My family has gotten used to me being behind my laptop, but we still need to eat! I’ve always been a fan of quick, healthy recipes that taste good. The biggest reason we eat at all is TASTE. We tend to eat a lot of “next-overs” here. Being raised by parents that lived through the Great Depression, wasting food was not an option in our house. I am thankful that they brought me up to appreciate good food and have learned to embrace leftovers.Thankfully, my family does, too.

Seeing a wrinkled pepper on my counter and knowing I had a few grilled chicken breasts in the frig about to expire, I was inspired to try something in the instant pot. Honestly, any veggies or protein will do. My goal is to make the meal colorful and edible. Here’s what transpired:


2 Tbsp. corn oil

1 cup brown rice

1 clove garlic, minced

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 cup frozen chopped spinach or chopped fresh spinach

2 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces

3 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

1 Tbsp. ginger paste

1 Tbsp. chili garlic sauce

1 1/4 cups water


  1. Turn your Instant Pot setting to sautee.
  2. Add corn oil, brown rice, garlic, peppers, and onions to the pot.
  3. Sautee for 5 minutes with the lid open until onions are translucent.
  4. Add chicken, spinach, soy sauce, ginger paste, and chili garlic sauce and 1 cup water.
  5. Switch Instant pot setting to “rice”. Close the lid and turn the pot on.
  6. Once the pot “beeps”, exhaust the steam and open the pot.
  7. Add additional soy sauce, ginger or chili garlic paste to taste.
  8. Serve hot!

Makes 4-6 servings.

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