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Parmesan Cauliflower Mash Faux-tatoes
Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetable Recipes

Parmesan Cauliflower Mashed Faux-tatoes

Dear Diary,

This mid-west born Dietitian loves some mashed potatoes. My own smashed garlic red skin potatoes are delish but I also love restaurant versions made with just about any kind of potato. Mashed sweet potatoes? Yes, please. Smooth and creamy yellow potatoes whipped to the perfect texture? Bring it. A Thanksgiving table without mashed potatoes? Um, no. Just no.

The only caveat is, of course, the high amount of calories that gets served up in my beloved taters. I have to be honest, the thought of replacing the perfect potato with cauliflower to create a lower calorie substitute sounded abhorrent. But, as the saying goes, you have to try to know. While these faux-tatoes will not be gracing my Thanksgiving Day table any time soon, they will definitely be on my regular everyday table.

Cheers to eating my vegetables…and liking it!

Parmesan Cauliflower Mashed Faux-tatoes
 Serves 4-6
  • 1 large or 2 small heads cauliflower, cored, leaves removed and cut into small florets
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons finely green onions (use green and white parts)
  • 1 teaspoon M Salt
2. Use a strainer to remove excess liquid and transfer cauliflower to a food processor. Puree until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the Parmesan cheese, chives, and onions.  Season with M Salt and garnished with Parmesan and green onions. Serve warm.

PS – if you don’t have M Salt then you can use salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. However, I highly recommend you buy some M Salt to sprinkle on eggs, mix in guacamole, for vegetables, and pretty much anything savory.

Simple Natural Strawberry Jam
Recipes, Uncategorized

Simple Natural Strawberry Jam

Dear Diary,

I grew up eating my Grandma’s strawberry freezer jam. We ate it on bread, pancakes, muffins, and when we thought we could get away with it, by the spoonful right out of the jar. Those were the days of young taste buds that crave sugar and nothing is ever too sweet. When I started making my own jam, I was shocked at how much sugar went into traditional jam. Nowadays, my mature taste buds prefer to taste more of the fruit and far less sugar.

Cooking Light (June 2004) has a good recipe I discovered several years ago that has 3 ingredients, no pectin, and far lass sugar than the recipe my Grandma used to use. Recently, I was a chaperone on a field trip with my son to a farm where our group got to pick fresh strawberries. The berries were sweet so I bought more afterwards and wanted to create an even better version of the Cooking Light recipe I had been using. What if I cut out the sugar all together and used honey? And what if I increased the nutrition value without changing the texture by adding chia seeds? My Simple Natural Strawberry Jam was born and the fruit is the star of the show in this recipe.

Simple Natural Strawberry JamChopped Fresh Strawberries

  • 8-10 cups chopped Strawberries
  • Zest of 2 lemons & juice of the same 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup apple or grape juice
  • 1/2-3/4 cup honey

In a large pot or sauce pan, add chopped strawberries and lemon zest; bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reserve the juice of the lemons for later. Simmer (low boil) uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Combine chia seeds and apple/grape juice and allow to sit while the strawberries cookSoaked Chia Seeds & Lemon Juice. Remove from heat, allow to cool for 10 minutes, and stir in reserved lemon juice, soaked chia seeds, and honey. Allow to cool for another 10 minutes prior to pouring into glass jars or containers. Refrigerate or freeze. Use to top yogurt or ice cream, on bread or toast, or by the spoonful!

Note: Do not expect this jam to taste like store bought or traditional homemade jam. It is less sweet but can be easily sweetened by increasing the honey a bit or adding agave after it’s cooked.Cooked Strawberries

Breakfast Recipes, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetable Recipes

Mushroom Spinach Spaghetti Squash Strata

Dear Diary,
Whether it’s called a frittata, quiche or strata…it all has to do with eggs in some sort of casserole form. Eggs have so many good qualities that I have to agree with the commercials that boast their incredible, edibleness. Eggs are an inexpensive form of protein that are easy to prep in a variety of different ways. They contain tons of vitamins, minerals and nutrients including selenium, choline, and essential amino acids. Be sure not to short yourself by ditching the yolk! It’s good for you and does not increase cholesterol or risk of stroke…in fact some studies show it’s quite the opposite.
This recipe is packed with protein, veggies, and flavor and is very versatile. Keep it vegetarian or add in a little uncured bacon for additional flavor and protein. You can also play around with adding or swapping out vegetables depending on taste preference and availability. The best part is that it’s perfect for any meal and tastes great warmed up the next day too. For me, leftovers are an easy and fast way to get in a veggie packed meal when I have little time.

Bon appétit!

Mushroom Spinach Spaghetti Squash StrataMushroom Spaghetti Squash Quiche - Diary of a Dietitian
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash, about 2.5 lbs
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped, packed tight
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup feta or goat cheese
  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 tsp onion or garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • Cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut squash in half and place face side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Bake for 30 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside to cool until safe to handle.
  2. In the meantime, preheat large skillet on medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add mushrooms and saute for 5-7 minutes. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add spinach, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper and saute until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. To make the crust, remove seeds from the spaghetti squash and separate flesh into strands using a fork. Transfer to a medium bowl along with 1/2 tsp thyme, garlic, and salt; mix to combine. Transfer to a deep oven safe dish that has been sprayed with cooking oil and press evenly onto bottom and sides using your hands. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, cottage cheese, feta/goat cheese, mushroom kale mixture, 1 tsp onion or garlic powder, 1 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper and mix to combine. Pour into prepared crust and flatten with spatula.
  5. Bake in 400 degrees F oven for 50 mins or until the knife inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool and set for 10 mins. Cut into 8 slices and serve hot.
Tips: Any dark, leafy greens like kale can be used in place of the spinach. Use fresh thyme if you it available.
Kale and Mushroom Spaghetti Squash Quiche

Adapted from an ifoodreal recipe. Pictures from




Holiday Recipes, Uncategorized

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Sweet Potatoes with Bacon

Dear Diary,

I read an article recently that listed BACON as one of the ten foods Dietitians and Nutritionists NEVER eat. Wait…WHAT? We don’t eat bacon? When did that happen? I can understand the vegetarians and non-pork eaters saying no to bacon, but really…the rest of us don’t eat bacon? Or…maybe I’m one of the few that admit to eating bacon? One may never know…or care because let’s face it, it’s bacon!

While I might opt for uncured and nitrate free bacon, I embrace what a slice or three of bacon can add to a dish. It can bring the perfect balance of salty to compliment the sweet. Another recipe I have made for many years, Brunswick Stew with Smoked Paprika, calls for 2 slices of bacon for a recipe that creates 6 portions. If I’m doing my math correctly, that is 1/3 of a slice of bacon per serving. We can embrace moderation and gain a ton of flavor by using high fat, flavor filled foods in small amounts.

I am a lover of creating dishes that are packed with veggies and bursting with flavor all at the same time. This vegetable roast nails the sweet, savory, smokiness that a Fall inspired side dish is all about. Warning, it may put Aunt Ida’s canned yams to shame at the Thanksgiving table!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Sweet Potatoes with Bacon

15-20 Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and cut in half

2 medium Yams (aka Sweet Potatoes), scrubbed, not peeled, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 Granny Smith Apple, not peeled, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 medium Sweet Onion, thinly sliced

2-3 slices of Uncured Bacon, chopped

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tablespoon Honey or Maple Syrup

1/2 teaspoon each Salt, Black Pepper, Dried Thyme

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, except bacon, and toss to mix well. Spread out the mixture on the parchment paper and evenly distribute the bacon over the top. Roast for 15-18 minutes, mix so vegetables cook evenly, and roast for another 12-15 mins. If the bacon is crispy and the vegetables have some char the dish is ready. It may need 5-10 more mins depending on amount of vegetables.

Motivation & Inspiration, Recipes, Sweets & Treats Recipes, Uncategorized

Tracy’s Chocolate Chip Moxie Cookies

Dear Diary,

Sometimes specific people are placed in your life at just the right time. They bring with them something you might not have even known you needed. They are like a magical unicorn, you’re positive they don’t exist, and then there they are in front of you. I like to think these unicorns appear when either good karma circles back around or the universe is prepping me for something difficult in my future. Most likely it’s a combination of both.

I recently met one of these rare, magical unicorn type people and she came along with one of the most healthy, and more importantly, delicious cookie recipes. She not only sparked my new love for essential oils, she also helped me find my way back to my blog and the kitchen. These cookies are that good! If they can renew my passion for sending ripples of health and wellness out into the world, what can they do for others?

What makes these cookies so great? Simply put, it’s the marriage of flavors from key ingredients like coconut oil, pure maple syrup, vanilla extract, and cinnamon that set it apart from the cookie crowd. The moxie part is the health benefits…and I kind of love the word moxie. One way moxie is defined is the ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage. We all need moxie when it comes to our health and wellness. For some super-food moxie, this recipe calls for almond flour versus wheat flour which makes this cookie packed with protein, monounsaturated fats, and B vitamins.

Chocolate Chip Moxie Cookies

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup pure maple syrup


These 9 ingredients are what make Moxie Cookies amazing!

1 whole egg, 2 egg whites

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 cups almond flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:  In a large mixing bowl, combine coconut oil and maple syrup. Mix with a hand mixer, add eggs and vanilla, blend well. In a separate bowl, combine almond flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients 1/2 cup at a time. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop a heaping tablespoon full of cookie dough onto a cookie sheet and push down lightly to form a cookie shape. Dough will be more moist/sticky than dough made with other types of flour. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-14 minutes depending on size of cookie. Makes approximately 27 cookies.

Tips:  Do not use other types of “flour” as they do not interact the same with the moist ingredients. Believe me, I ran out of almond flour and tried to sub in half coconut flour…the result was a dry, bland cookie. Almond meal will give the cookies a more gritty texture, it’s best to use finely sifted almond flour. I have used Blue Diamond brand almond flour from Costco as well as Simply Balanced from Target with good results. I use Pink Himalayan sea salt, this is why the salt has a pink hue in the photo of ingredients. Any fine salt will work in this recipe. These cookies are high in protein with a good amount of healthy fats. They are a very satisfying snack and can be gluten free if the chocolate chips are switched out. I recently made a double batch and froze half of the cookies with good results on the texture.

Recipe used with permission from my magical unicorn friend, Tracy Schwartz. Thank you Tracy!

Tzatziki Egg Salad on Toasted Ezekiel Bread
Recipes, Uncategorized

Tzatziki Egg Salad on Toasted Ezekiel Bread

Dear Diary,

Eggs are so versatile, easy to prep, high in protein, and for years had a bad rap. Throwing away the yolk in an effort to lower cholesterol and improve heart health is becoming a thing of the past. Whew, glad that era is almost over. Tossing the yolk means missing out on great sources of Vitamin D, Vitamin K2, Biotin, and Choline. These nutrients keep our brain, liver, heart, skin, hair, and nails healthy. It’s only the incredible, edible egg if you eat the whole thing!

Tzatziki comes from Greek origins and it’s a wonderful mix of Greek yogurt, lemon juice, cucumber, garlic, and fresh dill. I used a store bought version made by Hannah Foods and sold at Costco. If time permits, I use a recipe for homemade tzatziki from By using tzatziki as the “glue” in egg salad, instead of traditional mayo or plain Greek yogurt, many of the savory seasonings like garlic and dill are already added.

Ezekiel bread contains no flour and is made up of a mixture of grains and legumes—organic wheat, millet, spelt, barely, soybeans and lentils (all sprouted). The flour made from sprouted grains provides more protein, vitamins and minerals than refined flours, thanks to specific biochemical changes during germination that increase the accessibility of vitamins and capture proteins and carbohydrates in enhanced states. I don’t care for the texture unless it’s toasted and then it makes a great base for open-faced sandwiches.

Tzatziki Egg Salad on Toasted Ezekiel Bread

  • 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Tzatziki
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped celery
  • 10-12 Spinach leaves, chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1 slice Ezekiel bread, toasted

Directions: Mix all ingredients (eggs, tzatziki, onion, celery, spinach, salt, and black pepper). Spread egg salad on top of one piece of toasted Ezekiel bread and top with chopped tomatoes. Sprinkle with additional black pepper if desired.

Tomato Artichoke Hasselback Chicken
Recipes, Uncategorized

Tomato Artichoke Hasselback Chicken

Dear Diary,

Hasselback potatoes are an old Swedish favorite that has recently made a come back. Hasselback basically means making several slices part of the way through the potato and stuffing those slices with something delicious. The “stuffing” is traditionally butter and some type of cheese which is what most people like on their potatoes. Not all that healthy of a side dish, but it does spark some healthy inspiration.

I recently found a recipe that used the same method on a chicken breast. By using a lean protein source, it can become a main dish star instead of a side dish. I had to give it a try and put my own twist on it. Plus, the name is fun to say so when people ask about it I can say, “It’s Hassleback Chicken of course!”

I used goat cheese, big surprise there I’m sure, with tomatoes and artichokes but any “stuffing” can be used. A mixture of ricotta cheese, spinach, and garlic would be delicious or light cream cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil. The possibilities are truly endless! For a vegetarian version, a sweet potato could be used in place of the chicken breast. Mmmm…a Fall inspired Hasselback Sweet Potato…stuffed with dried cherries, apple slices, nutmeg and cinnamon. Yum!

Tomato Artichoke Hasselback Chicken

  • 4 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • Italian Blend of seasonings (dried basil, thyme, oregano)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Goat or Feta Cheese
  • Marinated Artichoke Hearts, quartered
  • Tomatoes, chopped

Directions: Clean, trim, and pat dry chicken breasts. On a cutting board, lay the chicken breast lengthwise right to left. Pinch the top and bottom so that the middle comes up a little. Make 6-7 vertical slices, 3/4 of the way through the chicken to create a “pocket,” and place in a glass baking dish that has been prepped with a generous tablespoon of olive oil. DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE CHICKEN BREAST. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts. Once all 4 breasts are sliced and in the baking dish, sprinkle with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stuff each pocket with goat cheese, artichoke hearts, and tomato. Drizzle with another tablespoon of olive oil and bake, covered with foil, for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove foil and bake an additional 12-15 mins depending on the size of the chicken breasts. Serve on a bed of mixed greens with a couple of spoonfuls of tzatziki (cucumber yogurt sauce).

Summer Salad from Diary of a Dietitian
Salad Recipes, Uncategorized

Avocado, Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad

Dear Diary,

School is out and so are the fresh fruits and vegetables! Summer is the best time to eat perfectly ripened, juicy berries loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Many years ago, I was with my friend Pam in Las Vegas and we went to the crepe place in Paris (the casino that looks like the Eiffel Tower). We ordered triple berry crepes and as we ate she said, “Oh man, this tastes like summer in my mouth!” It was winter in Michigan at the time and a little taste of summer in Vegas was something we both needed.

Over the years, I have thought of her saying that and how much food is a part of our seasons. Apples, pumpkins, and cinnamon are as much a part of Fall as the leaves changing on the trees. Winter makes me crave veggie laden soups and stews that have cooked all day in the slow cooker. Summer is reserved for salads, berries, and refreshing iced tea. This salad bursts with freshness, crunch and creaminess that is a virtual summer party in my mouth.

Bolthouse Farms makes an exceptional line of yogurt based salad dressings that have become my go to when I don’t have time to whip up something homemade. Their Mango Chipotle, at 40 calories for 2 tablespoons, is the perfect compliment to any fruit based salad. Bolthouse Farms dressings are found in most major grocery stores in the refrigerator section.

Avocado, Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad

  • Mixed Salad Greens (Spinach, Romaine, Kale, Arugula)
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Strawberries, quartered
  • Turkey Breast, chopped
  • Walnuts, chopped
  • Almonds, chopped
  • Goat Cheese, crumbled
  • Mango Chipotle Bolthouse Farms Salad Dressing

Directions: Built your salad and enjoy with a tall glass of unsweetened iced green tea! Mango, blueberries, and apples would be great add-ins to this salad.

Click here for more information about the health benefits of berries including weight loss and metabolism boost!

Fresh herbs can turn a so-so dish into a wow dish!
Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetable Recipes

Fresh Herb Polenta with Mushrooms

Dear Diary,

Today I feel like the luckiest person in the world. I am writing to you from my new favorite spot in our little atrium herb and vegetable garden. When we moved in, the atrium was a dry dirt plot filled with overgrown plants. It was not an inviting place and had not been given any love for a long time. I knew it had so much potential and pictured fresh herbs, tomato and bell pepper plants, and beautiful flowers thriving. Now, with some sweat equity, help from my super handy Dad, and Pinterest, I am enjoying watching it grow.

One of my boys has been keeping a very close eye on the daily changes with our heirloom and yellow pear tomatoes as well as our orange and red bell peppers. We have picked leaves off of every fresh herb to smell them and he can now identify basil, mint, oregano, lemon thyme, and cilantro. I think it’s so important for children to learn about how food grows and to be able to prepare their own meals.

Herbs don’t just look and smell good. They also have a wealth of health benefits including protective polyphenols. Polyphenols are plant compounds with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. With all these wonderful fresh herbs available, I decided to make a fresh herb polenta dish using other vegetables I had in the fridge. The herbs paired perfectly with polenta (also known as corn grits), goat cheese, zucchini and mushrooms. This recipe is versatile and a combination of fresh and dried herbs could easily be used depending on what is available. Bon Appetit!

Fresh Herb Polenta with Mushrooms

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup polenta (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 ounces Goat Cheese
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • Fresh herbs such as oregano, thyme, garlic chives, and basil
  • 2-3 cups Cremini Mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 small zucchini, cut slightly larger than mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sweet marsala wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions: Cook polenta according the package directions for making “cereal.” Bring water to a boil, add polenta and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 5-6 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove polenta from heat, cover, and let stand for a couple of minutes. Stir in butter, goat cheese, parmesan cheese, and chopped fresh herbs. Cover polenta to keep warm while prepping the vegetables. In a small skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, onion, garlic, mushrooms, and zucchini. Saute for 5-6 minutes and add wine and black pepper. Continue to saute until vegetables are tender. Serve vegetable mixture over the polenta and top with more fresh herbs, goat cheese salt and pepper if desired.
Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetable Recipes

Black Bean Spaghetti Squash Bowls

Dear Diary,

What could be better than a healthy meal served in it’s own straight-from-the-earth bowl? Um, nothing that’s what! This dish is an easy, vegetarian, low carb go-to meal that packs lots of fiber and flavor to keep me satisfied. It’s also one of those meals that tastes even better the next day for lunch after all of the ingredients have had a chance to sit around in the fridge and get to know one another.

Spaghetti Squash is my favorite when it comes to the squash family. It’s low in calories, versatile, delicious, and easy to make. Whether I use it as a pasta replacement, a side dish or a main dish, this squash never disappoints. There are several ways to cook it but I prefer to slice it in half, scoop out the seeds, rub it with a little olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake it. This method gives the squash a little bit of that roasted, slightly charred flavor that I love.

Squash can be a bit intimidating with all the varieties, shapes, colors, and an outer shell that hides it’s goodies inside. It all seems too mysterious to take a chance. Spaghetti squash is a good “beginner” squash that has a mild enough flavor to take on whatever spice or sauce it’s cooked with. Never fear, a great spaghetti squash recipe is here!

Black Bean Spaghetti Squash Bowls

YIELD: 4 large servings (each served in half of a spaghetti squash shell)


2 medium spaghetti squash

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 medium red onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 jalapeno peppers, minced (leave seeds in for added heat)

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 tablespoon dried oregano

1/2 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Juice of 1 lime

1 cup shredded colby jack cheese

1 medium avocado

2-3 green onions, thinly sliced


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Slice each squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds with a large spoon, and place cut side down on a baking sheet sprayed with olive oil. Bake for 40 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife. Scrape out the spaghetti squash from the shell with a fork, creating the “spaghetti.” Set aside the squash in it’s shell for later use.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add red onion, garlic, jalapeno and red bell pepper. Sauté 2-3 minutes. Stir in cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt and pepper. Sauté 1 more minute. Stir in beans, corn, lime juice and half the cilantro until well combined. Add the “spaghetti” from each squash to the vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Taste and season as desired.

Set oven to broil. Stuff each squash half shell with the squash/vegetable mixture from the skillet and top with 1/4 cup cheese. Broil until cheese melts and gets brown and bubbly, 1-2 minutes.

Top with remaining cilantro, slices of avocado and green onion. Serve warm and with wedges of fresh limes or salsa if desired.