Healthy Thanksgiving

Published November 21st 2013 

Marshmallow Whipped Sweet Potatoes- Serves Six

Think you have to choose between a tasty holiday or a healthy one? Think again! This “mash-up” on Thanksgiving favorite has less than 200 calories and 3 grams of fat per serving!


  • Cooking Spray
  • 3 C hot sweet potatoes, Mashed
  • Splash of Orange Juice (~3 Tbs)
  • 1 Tbs Margarine (Trans-Fat Free)
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 1 ½ Cups Mini-Marshmallows


  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat a round baking dish with cooking spray
  • Combine sweet potatoes, orange juice, margarine, salt with an electric mixer
  • Add 1 C marshmallows, beat until fluffy. If they aren’t melting, microwave the bowl for a minute and resume beating
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining marshmallows over the top.
  •  Bake for 15 minutes or until marshmallows are lightly brown.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Dip- Serves 12

For those who aren’t confident in their baking skills, but still crave the traditional sweet pumpkin treat on Thanksgiving, here is a healthy alternative to the sugar-laden store bought pies.


  • 8 ounces low-fat cream cheese (room temperature)photo from pinchmysalt.com
  • 3/4 cup of canned pumpkin
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Serve with: Apple slices or graham crackers for dipping.

Photo from pinchmysalt.com

 Quinoa Stuffing- Serves 12

Without stuffing, Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving. Try your hand at this alternative dish, which can be made with quinoa, or any whole grain alternative.


  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa or whole grain alternative
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped apple (Pink Lady, Jazz, or Pinata)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted in the oven


Place quinoa and water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all water is absorbed, stirring frequently so it does not burn. Use package directions for a time estimate.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add onion, mushrooms, apple, cranberries and celery. Stir and heat through until tender. Add the seasonings. Continue to stir and cook slowly about 10 minutes.

Combine the quinoa, the fruit/vegetable mixture and chicken broth in a large bowl. Bake in a dish coated with nonstick spray, or stuff into your turkey. Cover and keep warm in oven until serving. Garnish with a sprinkle of toasted almonds.

Twice Baked

Published March, 5th 2013

With spring break and swimsuit season fast approaching, there is one thing that all beachgoers, both male and female, have on the brain: tanning.

Just one 20-minute session in your favorite UV clubhouse before the age of 35 increases your risk of skin cancer by 75 percent and increases your chance of premature wrinkles, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Since tanning itself can be an addictive habit, students should try to take up another addictive habit – eating sweet potatoes.

The orange color in the sweet potato comes from beta-carotene, an antioxidant that converts to vitamin A and is known to be responsible for producing new skin cells and shedding old ones. This will keep the surface of your skin resistant to damage and looking healthy. These antioxidants may help ward off various forms of cancer (including melanoma) as well as helping to prevent wrinkles.

If feeling the need to twice-bake, try twice baking some sweet potatoes, because healthy skin and happy taste buds are a good way to celebrate Spring Break.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoestwice baked

  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 3-4 ounces plain Greek yogurt
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Ground ginger
  • ¼ cup crushed bran flakes or bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons crushed pecans (optional)

Wrap three large sweet potatoes in foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour, or until the potato is cooked all the way through so the inside is soft (varies depending on size of the potato). You may also microwave the potatoes until done if you are short on time.

Once cooled enough to handle, cut the potato in half lengthwise and scoop out all but 1/8 inch of the flesh from the inside of the potato. Mix the flesh with 1 tablespoon butter, chives and Greek yogurt. Add salt, pepper and ginger to taste. For a more flavorful potato, add cinnamon and cloves.

In a separate bowl mix crushed cereal or bread crumbs with the remaining tablespoon of butter, add pecans or other nuts if you wish. Season topping mixture to taste.

Spoon the flesh mixture into the potato skins, top with the cereal mixture and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.


Mardi Gras or Carnival or Shrovetide? Sounds like a good reason for Pancakes to me!

Published February 22nd 2012

With Lenten season approaching this week there is only one thing on the minds of many tourists heading south to New Orleans, Mardi Gras. Literally translating to “Fat Tuesday,” Mardi Gras is a celebration before the fasting season of Lent. This important holiday has been celebrated in France since the middle ages, and it came to America in the 1600’s by French explorer Iberville.

Carnival, which comes from a Latin phrase “carne vale” meaning “removal of meat,” is celebrated the Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday leading up to Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of the Lenten Season. Carnival is similar to Mardi Gras as it is a time of celebration and feasting before the fasting which takes place during Lent.

Carnival today is celebrated with parades, costumes, dancing, and music. The French parade in New Orleans has become well known for its drunken revelry and women flashing their breasts for a payment of plastic beads. Recently, the Portuguese people of Brazil have made an effort to change this aspect of the season by instead promoting Brazilian cultural history rather than encouraging wild parties with binge drinking and public nudity in hopes that this will not have a negative effect on the number of tourists, 70% of whom visit Brazil during the Carnival festivities.

In Sweden this day is called Fettisdagen. It comes from the words “fett,” meaning fat and “tisdag,” the word for Tuesday. Originally, this was the only day of the year you should eat semlor, a delicious pastry. Now semlor is sold in most stores and bakeries before the holiday, and up until Easter Sunday.

In English culture the three days before Ash Wednesday are known as Shrovetide, which comes from the Old English word “shrove,” which means “to repent.” The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday is called Shrove Tuesday and is celebrated with a pancake feast for dinner at most households, which gives this holiday the name “Pancake Day.”

Oatmeal Pancakes

Dry Mix:

  • 2 c oats
  • 1 c white flour
  • 2 c whole wheat flour
  • ½ c brown sugarpancakes
  • ½ c dry milk
  • 1 ½ Tb baking powder
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 c oil
  • 1 c water

Make the dry mix ahead of time and store it in a container and it will keep for months. When you are ready to make the pancakes simply add your wet ingredients to 2 cups of the dry mix, and be prepared to be amazed!

They’re great with syrup, bananas and peanut butter, fruit topping, yogurt, cinnamon butter, or just about anything else you want to put on top of these fabulous pancakes!



Microwave Dining

College students, especially those of us living in the dorms, oftentimes don’t have access to a kitchen, and our eating schedules are subject to dining hall hours. Fear not, dorm-livers, here are some microwave-friendly options that even the least kitchen savvy cook can enjoy!

Have a Fiesta!

Needing a little extra spice in life, but not comfortable with the frozen burritos and taquitos? Make your own quesadpepperillas and nachos, and have a party that is muy caliente!

Nachos: Stick some chips on a plate, put cheese on top, microwave until cheese is melty, top with whatever else your taste buds desire.

Quesadilla: Sprinkle your favorite cheese on a tortilla, add some diced chicken breast (found in supermarket deli meat section) microwave until the cheese is melted, fold it up, top with salsa, do the Macarena.

Egg-celent Breakfast Options

Think you need to venture to the dining hall to enjoy a hot breakfast that isn’t oatmeal? Think again. A half dozen eggs fits great in a mini fridge, and a full dozen will actually keep for months and not make your whole dorm smell like farts, contrary to popular belief.

Scrambled eggs: Beat 2 eggs with a splash of milk, add salt, pepper, cheese, and any veggies you desire, and microwave for two minutes, stir, microwave for another minute or two.

Poached eggs: You can find a little microwaveable egg poacher at Wal-Mart for a few bucks, and it will provide you with more than its money’s worth of breakfasts, and it will give you a lean, protein packed breakfast that tastes fantastic on a piece of bread with some cheese if you need a sandwich to go.

Omelets: Same goes with the poacher, see Wal-Mart for a cheap and convenient cooking method.  Preparation is similar to scrambled eggs, only with a better opportunity for adding more veggies to add some more nutrition to an already substantial way to start your day.

Need something more? Put down some paper towels on a plate, put some bacon strips on the paper towels, cook until done to your liking.

Meat and Potatoes

In the mood for some comfort food that’s also healthy? Make a traditional meat and potatoes meal that is filling, healthy, and delicious. Microwaveable chicken breasts can be purchased at any supermarket, and cooking instructions vary depending on the brand. Buy a bag of your favorite steamable microwaveable veggies to enjoy your vegetables in a quick, convenient way (mom won’t know if you don’t finish them). Finally, make yourself a delicious baked potato and have a tasty meal in minutes!

  • Wash your potato and poke holes in it with a forkbaked.potato
  • Microwave for a couple minutes, rotate, microwave again
  • Complete time varies depending on potato size and microwave strength
  • Add butter, salt, pepper, or other seasonings of choice.
  • Leftover shredded cheese and bacon from the recipes above make a great addition to this side dish

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Sure the dining hall is full of pretty tasty treats, but what about that late night craving for something sweet? Try cake in a cup! It only takes one minute, and making one batch of mix stocks you up for awhile. It’s really simple, here’s what you do:

  • Pour one box of Angel Food cake into a gallon sized Ziplock bag, or another airtight container
  • Pour another box of any cake mix of your choice into the bag with the Angel Food
  • Close the bag and shake the two mixes until they are blended enough to look like one mix
  • Put about 1/3 cup of mix into a microwave safe mug
  • Add 3 Tablespoons of water, stir until it’s not clumpy
  • Microwave for one minute, Enjoy!

Buying a tub of frosting can be a great addition to make this sweet treat even sweeter, but it’s not necessary.

Homemade Barbeque Sauce

Published April 9th 2013

‘Tis the season to clear the cobwebs off the grill that has been stored in your garage all

This is my grandfather's not so secret family recipe!

This is my grandfather’s not so secret family recipe!

winter and sharpen up your barbecue tools.

A good piece of meat is not as good without the perfect sauce. Why not impress your friends and family with a sauce that is better than the rest?

This sauce is delicious and easy to make in a large batch if you are hosting a big group. It tastes great on beef brisket, pork chops, chicken and can easily be mixed with shredded pork to make mouthwatering barbeque sandwiches.


  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 tablespoon black pepper

In a medium saucepan, mix all ingredients and bring to a slow boil. Immediately reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, or jar it up and send it home with your friends as a great summertime gift.

Sneaky Snacks

April Fools’ Day is the perfect day for pranks, jokes and little white lies. There are really no rules to this day, which makes it the perfect opportunity to try something new. The Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Hummus is something I am planning on serving to my younger sister, who insists she cannot eat beans of any sort without “throwing up all over the place.” Something tells me after a few scoops of my “chocolate spread,” which includes chickpeas, she won’t lose her lunch, but find a new delicious and nutritious snack to enjoy.

After your victims have taken that first fateful bite, it is perfectly OK to say “April Fools!” and tell them what they are really eating. Make sure they have swallowed first and can’t spit it back out on you. Chances are with any of these deliciously deceitful dishes,

your victims will come to the realization that things aren’t always as they seem, and even something that raises yebrows at the ingredients list might, in fact, be the best prank they’ve ever tasted.When playing with food, I recommend making sure your

victims don’t have any food allergies before getting too crazy, but have a little fun with it, especially with your picky-eater friends.


  • 1 can drained chickpeas
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup peanut or almond butter(or substitute 3 tablespoons of oil)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

Serve with graham crackers, animal crackers or fresh fruit.

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