It Just Keeps Snowing and Slow Cooker Barley & Bean Soup

Too cold to think about anything BUT a warming bowl of soup? Try my meatless yet oh-so hearty (and healthy) slow cooker Barley & Bean Soup.

Barley & Bean Soup via

It’s been a wild few days here in New England. With 20 inches of snow on the ground and more in the forecast, I’ve been cooking up some nutritious new soup recipes for my resident snow blowers, Tim (crazy dad removing snow from roof) and Simon (helpful teen making sure crazy dad doesn’t fall off ladder).

Snow blowing in New England

Just another day in the neighborhood … Read more

Chicken Veggie Stir Fry + a GIVEAWAY for The Pre-Diabetes Diet Plan {Podcast #260}

Eating for overall good health and diabetes prevention just got a whole lot easier with this family-pleasing recipe for Chicken Veggie Stir Fry.  

Chicken Veggie Stir Fry via #diabetes

Over 80 million Americans of all ages have prediabetes, which puts them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes—a disease that can lead to blindness, kidney failure, and blood vessel damage. Obesity, inactivity, a low fiber diet, and a high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages are common risk factors for diabetes.

Hillary Wright making Chicken Veggie Stir Fry via #diabetes

To the rescue is registered dietitian, Hillary Wright, M.Ed, RD whose new book, The Pre-Diabetes Diet Plan outlines simple eating and exercise strategies aimed at reversing and preventing diabetes. She joins us this week on Cooking with the Moms Episode #260 to share a veggie filled, health-enhancing recipe along with invaluable advice for stopping prediabetes in its tracks.


 LISTEN TO COOKING WITH THE MOMS HERE! And don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to our show on iTunes.

Chicken Veggie Stir Fry via #diabetes #carrots #zucchini #broccoli

As part of her pre-diabetes diet plan, Hillary recommends filling half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, 25% with a lean protein food, and the remaining 25% with a starchy veggie or whole grain. She’s not anti carb, but instead, she emphasizes the Two Qs: quality (whole grain) and quantity (not too much).

Chicken Veggie Stir Fry via #diabetes

We served our stir fry with brown rice—a whole grain—and stuck to a 2/3 cup portion.

4.8 from 6 reviews
Chicken Veggie Stir Fry
As a rule, Hillary recommends between 45 to 60 grams of good quality carbohydrate per meal. We achieve that goal with non-starchy vegetables (carrots, broccoli, zucchini) and whole grain brown rice. This recipe was adapted from a favorite recipe of Hillary's found in Cooking Light.
Recipe type: Poultry
Serves: 4
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • Juice of 1 lime, divided
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon expeller pressed canola oil
  • 2 carrots, cut into very thin rounds (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cups bite-size broccoli florets (from 1 small bunch)
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then cut into ¼-inch-thick half moons (about 2 cups)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 green onions cut into ¼-inch pieces (white and green parts)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • ¼ cup sliced fresh basil
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Brown rice, optional
  1. Place 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, ginger, juice of half a lime, and 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil in a large zip-top plastic bag or bowl. Add the chicken pieces, seal the bag, and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
  2. When ready to make your stir fry, heat the oil in a large wok or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and the marinade and stir fry for 1 minute.
  3. Add the carrots, broccoli, zucchini, garlic, green onions, and jalapeno pepper and stir fry 7 more minutes, or until the chicken is done and the vegetables are crisp tender.
  4. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, remaining lime juice, and the remaining sesame oil. Before serving, stir in the basil and cilantro.
  5. Serve with brown rice as desired.
When ⅔ cup brown rice is added to each portion, you get 370 calories, 41g carbohydrate, and 5g fiber. And thanks to all the veggies in this dish, each serving has a whopping 140% vitamin A and 80% vitamin C. ** If you have little kids at home, this recipe will serve 5.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 220 Fat: 9g Saturated fat: 1.5g Carbohydrates: 11g Sugar: 3g Sodium: 380mg Fiber: 3g Protein: 26g Cholesterol: 65mg

The Pre-Diabetes Diet Plan by Hillary Wright

If you or someone you know has prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, this is the book for you. One  blog reader or podcast listener can now enter to win a copy of The Pre-Diabetes Diet Plan (U.S. only please).

TO ENTER post a comment here and tell us your diabetes story and/or why you want to win the book.

We will enter you into the giveaway additional times if you …

> Tweet about the giveaway with a link back to this post.

> Share the giveaway news with your Facebook fans and friends with a link back to the post.

> Follow us on Pinterest.

> Follow The Meal Makeover Moms on Facebook and Twitter (@MealMakeovrMoms)

Giveaway ends February 6, 2015 and our winner will be picked using Good luck!

Smoky Salmon Tacos with Greek Yogurt Sauce – Recipe Redux Challenge

Family dinners don’t have to be bland or boring. Add a subtle smoky twist to your next make-your-own taco night by using my secret flavor booster: chili chipotle powder. 

Smoky Salmon Tacos with Greek Yogurt Sauce via #fish #seafood #tacos

Sunday dinners at my house often revolve around some sort of fish taco recipe. This weekend Josh was home from college, so I wanted to make something satisfying, nourishing, and super flavorful before he headed back to school; the food he eats at school is none of the above. My new creation for Smoky Tacos with Greek Yogurt Sauce met all three criteria.

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How to Make Homemade Tamales

Tamales. I had enjoyed them in Mexican restaurants but never considered making homemade tamales for myself… until my friend, Catherine, invited me over for a tamale-making gathering at her house.

Homemade Tamales with Guacamole

Tamales are packets of corn dough with a savory or sweet filling. They are usually wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves and steamed.  Tamale making is often a community event, and we enjoyed our creations with a bowl of vegetarian posole soup and a side of guacamole. Comfort food at its best!

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Corny Bean Bell Pepper Boats are Fun for Kids to Eat

Red, orange, green, and yellow bell peppers remind us of colorful Christmas tree ornaments, so use that to your advantage this holiday season to introduce your family to nutrient-packed peppers.

Colorful bell peppers via

Rich in vitamins C and A, peppers are versatile, crunchy, and filled with big flavors. You can slice them and serve with our Rainbow Veggie Dip, saute and add to pasta dishes, soups, and tacos and wraps …

Corny Bean Bell Pepper Boats via #bean #vegetarian

… or use them as the foundation for these fun-to-eat Corny Bean Bell Pepper Boats.

Our stuffed pepper recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free, and if you leave out the cheese, it’s also vegan.

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Sweet Potato & Chicken Soup + Healthy Soups to Keep You Warm This Winter {Podcast #257}

Warm up this winter with our fast weeknight Sweet Potato & Chicken Soup. It’s gluten free, bursting with kid-friendly flavors, and it’s packed with  vitamin A, an immune booster.

Tune into episode #257 of COOKING WITH THE MOMS radio as we dish about this Sweet Potato & Chicken Soup as well as recipes for Last-Minute Black Bean Soup and Potato Leek Soup.

LISTEN TO COOKING WITH THE MOMS HERE! And don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to our show on iTunes.

Sweet Potato and Chicken Soup via

And read on for links to even more healthy and hearty brews from The Meal Makeover Moms …

They’re MMM good!

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A Make-Your-Own Kale Salad Bar + Why Kids Will Love Digging In!

Getting kids to try new foods—even kale—is easy if you (a) involve them in the preparation process and (b) give them lots of choice.

Kids eating kale salad via

I work with a program in Lexington, MA called Kids Cooking Green, and last month during this preschool class, the kids made a kale salad, which they happily ate.

Kids making kale salad by massaging in olive oil via

The trick to our kale salad success?: The kids got to (a) get messy by massaging olive oil into the kale leaves (this makes the fibrous leaves more tender) and (b) choose from a number of toppings including hard-cooked eggs, goat cheese, and sliced veggies. And yes, the kids scrubbed their hands first, and yes, evoo smells great 😉

Make Your Own Kale Salad Bar via

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How to Make Cauliflower Steak + Cauliflower Steaks with White Beans

Have you ever wondered how restaurant chefs take cauliflower and turn it into “steaks?” It’s easy, and in this post I’ll show you how!

I’ll also serve up a protein-rich, vegetarian recipe for Cauliflower Steaks with White Beans that you and your kids will LOVE. 

How to Make Cauliflower Steak #vegetarian

It may seem complicated, but with a cutting board, a sharp knife, and a little bit of patience, you can easily transform a head of cauliflower into hearty slices or “steaks.”

How to Make Cauliflower Steak #vegetarian

As a mom and a dietitian obsessed with getting my family to eat lots of veggies, I’m always on the lookout for fun new ways to serve them up.

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How to Make Homemade Focaccia Bread with Fun Spiced Toppings

Learn how to make an easy homemade focaccia bread for your family using store-bought pizza dough! 

Homemade Focaccia Bread using store-bought bread dough #bread

Starting with store-bought pizza dough makes creating your own focaccia bread simple as pie.This month, I joined fellow healthy food bloggers for the following Recipe Redux cooking challenge on Spooky Spices:

You know they are lurking there: Way in the back of your spice drawer. There lie the herbs, spices, or rubs that are getting dusty because you’re afraid to use them… you simply don’t know what to do with them! Well, pull them out and show us a recipe you created to deliciously conquer that fearful spice. (Or maybe the recipe was a flop – and the spice still give you nightmares?!)

When I read this challenge I thought of all the spices that friends have brought back for me when they traveled to exotic places. There’s the za’atar that my friend, Catherine, brought back from Saudi Arabia, the spices my niece, Haley, shared from her time in Sri Lanka, the Maldon Sea Salt Flakes from my colleague, Allison, and the Florida Sunshine Spice Blend that my daughter Carolyn’s friend, Liz, gave me when she stayed with us last summer.

Zaatar, Maldon Sea Salt Flakes, Florida Sunshine Spice Blend, and assorted Sri Lankan Spices

With so many unfamiliar spices, I thought it would be fun to introduce my family to all the new flavors by adding them to a food they already love: BREAD!

Of course my life has been way too hectic to think about making my own dough so off I went to Whole Foods to buy a couple of bags of pizza dough: one bag of whole wheat and a bag of sprouted black bean.

Forming dough rounds for focaccia bread

 The next step was to invite friends over to help me cook. My friend Catherine was ready and willing to get things started. She cut the dough into four pieces and then sprinkled a bit of cornmeal onto my Silestone counter and shaped the pieces into circles.

Brushing olive oil on the focaccia bread

After shaping the dough, we placed the rounds on a baking sheet we had oiled with extra virgin olive oil. Then we made dimples on the dough with our fingers and then brushed the tops with more oil.

Spices to sprinkle on bread dough to make focaccia

Next came the spices. While Catherine was brushing with oil, I found a bag of paprika that my friend Sara, from Oldways, brought back from Turkey so we added that to the mix. Just sprinkle the spices liberally!

Sprouted Black Bean Pizza Dough with spices and olives for focaccia

Here is our focaccia using the sprouted black bean pizza dough with various spices and a few kalamata olives.

Homemade Focaccia Bread

Makes 6 Servings

Making your own focaccia is easy if you start with store-bought pizza dough. Be creative and add new and little-used spices from the back of your spice cabinet.

  • One 16-ounce bag pizza dough, preferably whole wheat
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons assorted spices
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

1. Leave pizza dough at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Cut dough into four equal pieces and place on a counter or cutting board sprinkled with cornmeal. Shape the pieces into thin rounds with your fingers.

2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Brush one tablespoon of the olive oil onto a rimmed baking sheet. Place the dough rounds on the baking sheet and make several depressions into each piece with your finger. Brush with the remaining oil, sprinkle liberally with spices, and then top with a few pinches of kosher or sea salt.

3. Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, until the bread starts to brown. Remove from the oven and cut into one-inch slices. Sprinkle with a bit more salt to taste and serve.

Nutrition Information per Serving (about 4 slices): 240 calories, 9g fat (1g saturated), 630mg sodium, 33g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 4g protein, 10% iron

Print Recipe

Homemade Focaccia with avocado salad

Homemade focaccia slices with za’atar, turmeric, paprika, olives, and Florida Sunshine Spice Blend. I saved some for Liz to sample the next day along with our avocado, tomato, feta salad. They were all delicious, but my favorites were the ones with za’atar and kalamate olives. My friends and I decided that it would be fun to cut these into bite size pieces and serve with a glass of wine. :)

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