A Practical Guide To Healthy Living
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Category — Meal Planning

What I Eat


All this talk about metabolism and my new paradigm has lead more than a few of you to ask, “so . . . what ARE you eating, anyway?” Short answer is: a lot of lean protein and non-starchy vegetables. Like at most every meal. [Read more →]

March 18, 2013   4 Comments

8 Great Time-Saving Ingredients That’ll Perk Up Your Meals

I get asked, a lot, about what’s in my pantry and what others should stock in theirs. [Read more →]

May 4, 2012   6 Comments

Holiday Hosting Plan of Attack!

Hey sweet readers . . . are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year?  Feeling overwhelmed, perhaps, just thinking of all you have to do to get ready?  This post from last year might help start your engine!

plan of attack cartoon soldier

Go get-’em!  I get energized by battle metaphors – it’s not very Martha Stewart, but I gotta be me.

A few of you have asked for ways to deal with hosting, so below is my 12-step program for handling a holiday.  The goal of this is to minimize stress leading up to Thanksgiving, so please, tweak and tailor it to your needs.

  1. Get yourself a folder with pockets.  You’re going to keep all your Thanksgiving-related stuff in here (recipes, guest lists, shopping lists, time-lines etc.).
  2. Plan your guest list.  I do all my lists on the computer so that I can easily edit them.  Divide up your list into adults and kids – if the kids are small, they’ll eat less – a big factor in deciding what size turkey to buy.
  3. Order a turkey, if you’re going to order one.  Here’s a good turkey-guide from Reader’s Digest – it gives you guidance as to how much to allow per person.
  4. Plan your menu.  List all the dishes you’re going to serve, and gather up all your recipes – whether from your own collection or clipped from magazines – and put these in your folder.  Don’t forget cocktails, if you’re interested in those – you might need special ingredients. If your recipes come from cookbooks, note the cookbook name and page number next to the item on your menu.
  5. Make assignments.  If your guests are local, most would love to bring something to contribute to the meal.  Don’t be a hero – let them!  Note who’s responsible for what next to each item on your menu list.  [Read more →]

October 20, 2010   1 Comment

Now What? Thanksgiving Leftover Remix!

turkey sandwich

I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, thanks to D.’s sister and our BIL’s hospitality.  Always a lovely time over there.  And my MIL made this luscious pumpkin chiffon pie thingy . . . maybe if we give her some love here, she’ll give up the recipe for next year?  I have to admit, although I love putting on the holiday at our place, it’s incredibly relaxing to have someone else host. 

The only downside to guesting and not hosting is no leftovers (or very few, we drove home packing a large drumstick and some sides!).  That might be an upside in terms of getting back on track with healthy eating . . . but then there’s no turkey sandwich w/stuffing and cranberry sauce, pie for breakfast (my niece is probably happily gobbling up the apple pie I made as you read this), etc. etc.

But maybe you want to mix it up with your leftovers?  Here’s a fantastic article from Food & Wine – David Chang (of Momofuku fame) takes leftover turkey, green beans and mashed potatoes, among others, and whips them into inspired recipes like mashed potato spring rolls, turkey breast with ginger-scallion sauce, and OMG!  Brown Butter Custard Pie with Cranberry Glaze and Cinnamon Toast Crumb Crust.  Be still, my heart.

Or, if that’s a little too fancy-pants for you, here’re some more down-to-earth ideas from Chowhound . . . .

and a whole list of inspired recipes from an old Chow article.

And last, here’s a slide show of 16 different recipes, from the ever-reliable Better Homes & Gardens.  The Tex-Mex things look best to me, but I always have good luck with BH&G recipes . . . even if I have to zing ‘em up a bit.

Let me know what you whip up – and if you’re making any of those Chang things, let me know what time I need to be over . . . .

November 27, 2009   No Comments

Healthy Breakfast Inspiration

greek honey yogurt full size

You’ve heard it over and over and over again:  Breakfast is “the most important meal of the day.”  Maybe you’re like me, and you make time to eat breakfast every day . . . I can’t imagine getting up and out without putting something in my belly.  But maybe you’re one of “those people” who doesn’t like to eat in the a.m.  If you don’t eat breakfast at all, I urge you to try to eat a little something – you might find these two bits of new research encouraging.  In one, UK researchers found that when they gave thirty-two volunteers breakfast, or made them skip breakfast, the ones who ate did better on a memory test.  In another, a University of Georgia study found that eating breakfast along with 200 mg. of caffeine improves cognitive performance and mood.  Now, who among us doesn’t want to be smarter and happier?   [Read more →]

November 24, 2009   2 Comments

A Fresh Green Salad For Thanksgiving

 pears in bowl

Happy Friday, everyone!  This is my last Thanksgiving-related post, unless I get requests for other dishes . . . what I’ve listed so far is my hit-parade of annual menu items.  The cooked veg changes from year-to-year (sometimes, my MIL makes a delicious creamy broccoli casserole thingy that’s worth the splurge).

Today I’m sharing a nice fall salad recipe that I make on Turkey day.  I have to admit, the salad doesn’t get as much play as the other side dishes.  But I happen to love a green salad amongst all the richness.  Don’t get me wrong, I love richness too, but a little somethin’ to cut the grease is always good.

Cranberry Pear Salad With Candied Walnuts

1/2 c. apricot nectar
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1/3 c. canola oil
2 t. Dijon mustard
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
2 T. sugar
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
12 c. fancy mixed salad greens
3 ripe medium pears, sliced into thin slices
1/2 c. dried sweetened cranberries
3/4 c. blue cheese, crumbled


Make the dressing:  in a bowl, whisk together the first six ingredients and set aside. 

Candy the walnuts:  In a heavy skillet, melt the sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Add the walnuts and stir to coat.  Remove from the heat.

Assemble the salad:  In a large salad bowl, combine the green, pears and cranberries.  Drizzle with the dressing.  Add nuts and blue cheese and toss.

Serve immediately.  Yields 12 servings.

Note:  I usually try to pick up some different types of pears for this, some with more brown flesh, some with red . . . makes the salad more colorful!  Also, if you have the wherewithall to plan ahead, get your pears a few days in advance so they’ll have time to ripen.  Sweet, juicy pears are best here.

Autumn Pear Salad on Foodista

November 20, 2009   2 Comments

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

mashed potatoes

Mmmmm, mashed potatoes and gravy!  Can you tell that for me, Thanksgiving is all about the side dishes?  Turkey’s OK, but what really gets me fired up are all of the once-a-year traditional foods we eat along with the bird.

These are not light.  Not great for you, but they’re a rich, creamy, easy and indulgent holiday side-dish that you can make several days ahead and store in your fridge.

Sarah’s Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

5 lbs. yellow or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed
8 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 stick salted butter
1/2 c. whole milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Combine the mashed potatoes, butter, cream cheese, sour cream and milk.  Add salt & pepper to taste.  Mix well and place in a large, oven-proof casserole.  Cover and bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes.

If you do make these ahead and put them in the fridge, removed them from the fridge 30 minutes before you intend to bake them.

Yields 12 servings. 

Divine Make - Ahead Potatoes on Foodista

November 18, 2009   2 Comments

Stuffing . . .

Stuffing for turkey

or dressing, or whatever you want to call it, is one of my favorite components of Thanksgiving dinner.  Yes, it comes with some debate, as do most things around a holiday.  Put it in the bird?  Leave it out of the bird?  Add meat?  Dried fruit?  Nuts?  None of the above?  People get craaaazy about their stuffing preferences.

Here’s what I like.  I like either a very simple white bread stuffing with sage, celery, parsley and onions, or else I like a full-frontal assault of oozy, rich sausagey stuffing.  More recently, the latter.  Either way, I love it most cooked inside the bird, and whatever you do, leave the fruit and nuts out of the picture.

I have 2 stuffing recipes for you today.  The simple recipe was my Grandmother Olivier’s recipe, which she called dressing, and which is much loved by all who taste it.  It is, of course, not an exact recipe, so you’re going to have to trust your gut on quantities, and you can certainly tweak amounts to your liking.  I’ve included my editorial suggestions in brackets.  If you make this recipe, please do promise me you’ll set an elegant table.  Were Peggy here today, she’d insist on that.  [Read more →]

November 17, 2009   6 Comments