Tag Archives: Nutrition

Recipe: Asian Turkey Burgers with Avocado Tahini Dressing


It was MY idea! Don’t let my husband fool you in to thinking it was his idea.  He simply said “let’s make turkey burgers”.  I was the one who came up with ALL the ingredients and therefore I am the creator of this masterpiece, and the ruler of all!

Just setting the record straight.

But that is the beauty of burgers! You can take a plain ‘ol hunk of meat and add a variety of delicious ingredients and prepare a delicious, juicy burger bursting with wonderful flavors for your taste buds to enjoy.  I was tossing up between an asian style or mexican style burger and I decided to go with my first instinct, especially since I had some cilantro and ginger hanging around.  mmmm mmm!

(apologies for lack of photos)

Asian Style Turkey Burgers

1 pound of ground lean turkey meat

1 tablespoon of ground ginger, fresh

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1 jalapeno, finely chopped

2 teaspoons of fish sauce

1 tablespoon of soy sauce

juice of 1/2 a lime

dash of salt and pepper

Avocado Tahini Dressing (whats tahini? read at the bottom)

1/2 avocado, chopped

1 tablespoon of tahini

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon of chopped cilantro

1/4 inch of fresh ginger, cut into a few smaller pieces

1 tablespoon of soy sauce

juice of 1/2 a lime

1 tablespoon of olive oil

3 tablespoons of water, or until you reach desired consistency.  It shouldnt take a lot of water, so start with 3 tablespoons first.

1.  Add turkey meat, ginger, cilantro, chives, finely chopped jalapeno, salt, pepper, soy sauce and fish sauce to a large bowl and mix it all up.  You can use a fork to kinda fluff it all up- as along as it is all mixed nicely.  Divide the meat into four quarters and form each quarter into a round, plump burger.  

2.  Take a large fry pan and set the heat to medium to high setting, add desired cooking oil (I used coconut oil), let it heat up and then add your turkey burgers.  Each side should take about 6-7 minutes.  I highly recommend using a meat thermometer to determine if the burgers are cooked through.  (take burgers off from pan onto plate, stick meat thermometer in center of burger and allow it to reach 165 degrees F).

3.  While the turkey burgers are cooking (and your mouth is salivating :)), make the dressing.  I used this itty bitty food processor that is just the cutest thing ever, but do not let it fool you! It is very powerful… and loud! It scared the bejeezus out of me the first time I used it.  Anyways, enough about my mini food processor’s Napoleon complex, take all the ingredients listed for the dressing, add it to the food processor and blend until you reach desired consistency.

4.  prepare a delicious salad and use choice of salad dressing OR if you made enough avocado tahini dressing you can use it as the salad dressing as well!.  You can eat the burgers with choice of bread/burger buns or have it sans carbs and lay it on top of the salad.  Add a dollop of the avocado tahini dressing on top of the burger and enjoy.

IMG_1580I’m not tooting my own horn here (I’m TOTALLY tooting my own horn here!!) but these burgers were amazing!!! I felt like a genius.  The expression on my husband’s face did indeed confirm the party that just happened in my mouth.   They are so so tasty and I highly recommend you give this recipe a whirl soon.

Helpful hint:

I highly recommend the tahini in the dressing.  The sesame seed flavor really compliments the whole meal.

What’s tahini?

Tahini is sesame seed paste.  Before you go wrinkle your nose in disgust, realize that if you like hummus, you will like anything with tahini because hummus’s main ingredient is tahini.  It is a good source of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and unsaturated fats, so all the more reason to include it in your diet.

What are some of your favorite burger recipes? please share! (just make sure its copyrighted so my husband doesn’t try to go and steal it hee hee).


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See you there!


(A lesson learned)…Kale and Chicken Stir Fry with Peanuts


I used to have a favorite recipe for Singapore Noodles.  I’m kicking myself for not writing it down then.  Lesson learned!

So I am on a quest to recreate that recipe and I have a feeling I won’t be disappointed along my journey 🙂

As much as I want to call this dish Singapore noodles, I am missing some ingredients.  So I will simply call it a stir fry.

Yields 3 servings


2 boneless chicken breasts, sliced

1/2 head of broccoli, cut in pieces

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

2 carrots, thinly sliced

2 large handfuls of chopped kale

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger

2 tsp fish sauce ( i know it sounds gross, but trust me it adds a great flavor to any recipe that calls for it)

3 TBSP soy sauce

2 tsp curry powder

1 TBSP sesame seeds

1/4 cup peanuts

sesame seed oil

Himalayan sea salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

noodles or rice


1.  Add 2 TBSP of sesame seed oil over med-high heat and cook garlic for ~20-30 seconds or until fragrant.  Add sliced chicken and cook until done, ~ 7 minutes. IMG_1430

2.  Meanwhile, in a separate bowl and kale and 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and massage the kale for ~3 minutes.  This breaks down the tough cellulose and wilts easier while cooking.

3.  Remove chicken from pan and set aside.  In same pan, add another 1 TBSP of sesame seed oil, grated ginger, fish sauce, soy sauce, curry powder, massaged kale and remaining vegetables.  Give it a good toss, add a few TBSP of water to get a good stir fry action going on, cover with a lid and cook for ~7 minutes or until broccoli is cooked to your liking, occasionally tossing up the veggies and sauce.  IMG_1431

4.  In the last few minutes of cooking, add cooked chicken, peanuts and sesame seeds.  Toss everything together, cover and cook for ~2 more minutes.


5.  While all this is going on, you should be cooking your choice of starch as well.  I chose these asian noodles called “bean threads” aka glass noodles, but rice will work well with this stir fry, or you can keep it starch free and leave it with chicken and veggies alone.  If you using noodles, add it to the pan and mix it around to let it soak up all the saucy goodness.



I feel like I am so close to recreating my Singapore noodles recipe.  Next time I will add rice wine vinegar, cilantro, rice vermicelli noodles instead of glass noodles, and more curry powder (all these are commonly found in Singapore noodles recipes).  When I nail it I will be sure to share the goodness 🙂

Krazy about Kale


I will honestly confess that I always found kale to be intimidating.  How could a vegetable be so scary? Crazy as it sounds, I was always just so weary about trying it.  What if this amazing super food tasted awful? I would be so embarrassed to admit it.  How do I even begin to cook it?  It was better off chilling in the veggie section of the supermarket until a more appreciative shopper would come along and buy it.

But I kept reading about the wonderful health benefits of kale and finally the curiosity got the best of me.  For starters, Kale is one of the most nutritious green leafy vegetables out there:

  • high in fiber- great for lowering cholesterol and keeping your bowels healthy and active
  • high in iron
  • high in vitamins and minerals
  • great source of non animal protein
  • high in antioxidants (cancer fighting properties)
  • good source of omega 3 fatty acid

For more in depth information about Kale, click on this link here.

I finally became a proud owner of a juice extractor and I thought to myself “now is my chance to experiment with kale!”  So I started to juice with kale and immediately became a fan.  Next step, cooking! At first I added it to an egg muffin recipe to replace spinach.


And finally, I became brave enough to throw a whole bunch in a pan and sauté it with some beans and crushed tomatoes…jackpot!  It was absolutely delicious and so flavorful.  It was even tasted tested and approved by some family members, some who have never tried kale in their life and probably would have liked it to stay that way…until they tried my recipes! 🙂




1 cup of chopped sun dried tomatoes

1 1/2 cup of feta cheese, crumbled

2 cups chopped raw kale

1 dozen extra large eggs

salt and pepper to taste


1.  whisk the eggs together. in a sauté pan, sauté kale in some olive oil and sea salt for five minutes.  set aside to cool. then add to egg mixture.saute kale

2.  add the other remaining ingredients

3.  in a one dozen muffin baking dish, drizzle some olive oil in each muffin cup, take a paper towel and kinda smother the oil inside each cup.muffin pan

4.  evenly distribute the egg mixture in each muffin cup .egg mixture

5.  bake for 15 minutes.

carefully take out the egg muffins.  serve 3 muffins per person and feel free to serve it along side some crispy cooked bacon, tasty smoked salmon or some freshly toasted bread.egg muffins bakedegg muffin




4 cups raw, chopped kale

2 large tomatoes

1 can of cannellini beans, drained

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

sea salt to taste

olive oil

1.  add olive oil to a sauté pan.  sauté onions on a medium heat for about 8 minutes.  add garlic and saute for 1 minute until the garlic as become aromatic.   Add kale and sauté for 3-5 minutes, adding a splash of water while sauteing.saute kale

2.   Cut the tomatoes into quarters, and manually crush them right over the sauté pan.  That’s right, take your day’s aggression out on those lovely red fruits and squeeze the living daylight out of them!   It’s a very rustic approach to crushing tomatoes, I felt like Jamie Oliver for a few seconds there 🙂 … crush tomatoes

3.  once all the tomatoes are crushed into the pan, add the tomato paste, stir into the mixture and allow it to simmer.

4.  while the pan is simmering, drain a whole can of the cannellini beans, rinse them under water to wash away any residual sodium and then chuck them into the pan as well. simmering bean casserole

5.  Continue to simmer over a medium high heat for about 10 min or until nearly all the tomato juice has evaporated.bean casserole

6.   serve into bowls and enjoy!

DID YOU KNOW….Kale can be a little bit of a diva??  It is recommended that you give kale a little TLC by giving it a hand massage before eating! Ha! I have a hard time getting a massage from my spouse and here is this lovely little green leafy veggie getting a 5 minute rubdown before consumption!

It turns out that rubbing kale leaves between your hands for five minutes breaks down its cellulose structure, thus taking away its bitter, tough taste and texture and making it wilted, silky and even a little bit sweet.  This is perfect if you plan on adding kale to a salad or eating it raw.  It is recommended you use some olive oil and salt while massaging…might as well kill two birds with one stone and dress your salad while massaging it!

Tips for cooking Kale:

  • chop leaves into 1/2 inch portions and stems into 1/4 inch portions
  • steaming kale for 5 minutes is the best way to bring out its phytonutrients, as well as drizzling lemon juice over kale and letting it sit for a few minutes before cooking/consuming
  • give it the best massage of its life!

Rock-n-(Nori) Roll


My love for sushi started at around age 14.  Like any beginner sushi eater, I started with the ever so safe “California Roll” and eventually became brave enough to try some beautiful creations that this wonderful cuisine has to offer.


I’m still a little wary though.  I am coming out of the stage where I need massive amounts of rice with my sushi rolls, which is a relief because when I eat sushi I like to eat until I am the size of a roll myself.  The amount of rice I consume contributes to my new, lasting “roll” figure.  I also prefer to have avocado with nori rolls.  I just really love the flavor combo and felt that it was enough to make up for the decrease in rice I was going to use with my nori rolls.  Besides, we can all use a little avocado in our lives, considering how healthy avocados are.


This fruit is high in monounsaturated fatty acids as well as other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, fiber and potassium.  Look at all the health benefits avocados provide:  reduces risk of cardiovascular disease, contains anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, and even aids in blood sugar regulation thanks to the amounts of fiber and healthy fats.

Here is another reason to hit up your fave sushi spot tonight:  Nori, which is a type of seaweed, is super healthy.  There are many clinical studies on the health benefits of eating seaweed.  There are components in seaweed that “exhibit many beneficial biological activities such as:  anticancer, antiviral, anticoagulant and antioxidative acting properties.”  You will find that seaweed is also high in Iodine, which is important for thyroid function.



Making my own sushi has allowed me to save some bucks on the days when I am really craving sushi but just don’t want to spend the money.  The sushi rolls I made are so easy and quick to make- feel free to add whatever your heart desires.  Here in Australia, they add chicken to sushi rolls.  Heck, my friends Amanda and Matt Terillo saw a kangaroo sushi roll while visiting us!   I was shocked, but then again, why not??!


Nori sheets

Large can of tuna fish, packed in water preferably

mayonnaise, to your liking

2 celery stalks, chopped

lemon  juice of 1/2 lemon

1-2 carrots, julienne or thinly cut

1 – 1.5 cups brown rice, cooked

1 whole avocado, sliced

Tuna salad:

Mix tuna, celery, mayonnaise and lemon juice together.  Mix until it is all coated nicely with the mayo and has made a delicious tuna salad.

prep ingredients


1.  Place nori sheet down on sushi rolling mat.  Add 1/4 cup brown rice and spread it across.  Make note that the rice isnt supposed to cover the entire sheet of nori, like typical sushi does.

2. At the end of the nori sheet, add some tuna salad along the edge.  Top it with some carrot, followed by 2-3 slices of avocado.  Roll the sushi the best way you know how.  Confession:  The first time I made sushi, I used a youtube video as a guide 😉 have no shame!

"Let's rock into a roll!"

“Let’s rock into a roll!”

3.  Use a sharp knife to cut the roll in half.  Add a side of soy sauce, wasabi, sweet chilli, whatever you like and…

4.  Stuff your face.

finished roll

I found that 3-4 halves was enough for me as a meal.

Tasty tips:

  • I used brown rice because it is high in fiber, vitamins and minerals compared to white rice.  
  • Dont have brown rice? Use your favorite grain or plant seed.  I think next time I will use quinoa!
  • Get creative and use other veggies such as cucumber, peppers, even sweet potato!
  • I would eat them within two days of making them.  So feel free to make a little extra and take to lunch the next day.  Just remember to store them in the fridge.
  • Don’t have access to a sushi rolling mat? Try wrapping a thin magazine with plastic wrap.  Place the nori sheet right on the magazine, place ingredients on the nori sheet and roll away.

Challenge yourself and try making some of your favorite sushi rolls, or even some of these rolls:

sushi roll


Fun Fact: I can easily (and happily) eat this entire tray all by myself…

Hello, lover!

Hello, lover!

Yuuummmm! Enjoy!

The Mighty Stuffed Pepper


Love when my creative juices start flowing…Last week I made a Vegan, Gluten Free Stuffed Pepper- created entirely by me!  This recipe is health, stuffed in a pepper! I feel like a scientist 🙂

I was able to get my hands on some Quinoa, one of my favorite “grains” that is becoming increasingly popular.  If you haven’t heard of it yet, allow me to introduce to you the “Mother Grain” that is Quinoa (pronounced:  Keen-wah).  To be clear, Quinoa is not a grain, it just happens to fall into the category of grain.  Its actually a plant crop that is grown primarily for its seeds, and it is the “seeds” that we cook and consume.



Nutrients in
Quinoa, uncooked
0.25 cup (185.00 grams)
Nutrient%Daily Value








Calories (222)12%

Check out this website for the history, origin, health benefits and nutrient analysis of Quinoa http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=142&tname=foodspice#nutritionalprofile
Or you can just let me sum it up for you and tell you that you NEED this food in your diet.  Its high in fiber, vitamins and minerals and contains a good amount of amino acids, antioxidants and even essential fatty acids.  Who knew such a small food could make you so healthy and strong?!
On to my recipe!
Vegan Stuffed Peppers (gluten free) (4 Servings)
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 small onion chopped
1 cup chopped broccoli
4 Red Bell Peppers
Fresh chopped Basil
Fresh chopped Cilantro
1 teaspoon of Cumin
Pinch of salt and pepper
  1. Get a large pot of water to boil.  Cut the tops of the red peppers and remove the seeds and linings of the pepper.  Place them in the boiling water pot for ~7 minutes.  ImageImage
  2. In another pot, start cooking the quinoa.  Add 1 1/2 cups water to 3/4 cup dry quinoa.  Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes, or until all water is absorbed (just like rice!).  Remove from heat for about 10 minutes and fluff with fork.   Image
  3. Meanwhile, in a pan, add some oil, sautee onions for about 5 minutes, followed by broccoli, mushrooms, and chopped tomatoes.  Sautee for another 5-8 minutes.  Image
  4. Once quinoa is finished cooking, add it to the vegetable mixture and toss until combined.
  5. Scoop the quinoa veggie mixture into the hollowed out red peppers until topped off. Image Grill the stuffed peppers until the sides are charred.  (You may have to turn them once or twice)  ~ 20 minutes.  Remove from heat, peel the charred skin off the pepper to expose the soft, tender skin underneath.
  6. Enjoy a gluten free, karma free dinner!

TIPS:  I realized that what really made this dish so tasty and delicious was the herbs that I chose to use.  its amazing how much flavor some fresh or dried herbs can give a dish.  Feel free to use your favorite herbs and explore. Remember, the beauty of most vegetarian dishes is you can use whatever veggies your heart desires- have fun with it and if you create your own variation of the MIGHTY STUFFED PEPPER, please feel free to share with us…it may even be tastier than mine! 🙂

15 Ways to Shape Up Your Plate


It’s March 14th which means…HAPPY REGISTERED DIETITIAN DAY! And March is National Nutrition Month.  The theme this month is “GET YOUR PLATE IN SHAPE”, so I have 15 ways to shape up your plate.  Challenge yourself and try them all for the remainder of the month!

1)  Add fruit to every main meal.  It is recommended that a person consumes at least 2 servings of fruit per day.  Add berries to your oatmeal or yogurt for breakfast, apples or pears to your salad for lunch and apricots to your stew for dinner. 

2)  Make it colorful- have at least 3 colors going in your meals.  It can be a form of a salad or vegetable medley.  This technique helps you choose a variety of fruits and vegetables which increases your intake of a variety of vitamins and minerals. 

3)  “Meatless Monday”- dedicate one day of the week to make a vegetarian meal.  They are low in fat and rich in vitamins and minerals. 

4)  Make salad your main meal.  Add your favorite vegetables, fruit, cheeses and lean protein (grilled shrimp, anyone?) to make a beautiful, generous size salad that will fill you before you can even say, “That was delicious!”

5)  Use the plate method.  It allows you monitor your portions by having half of your plate vegetables,   one-quarter starch, one-quarter lean protein.

6)  Choose ground turkey or chicken more often than beef.  They are lower in fat and cholesterol. 

7)  Experiment with Tofu.  Consider it the “blank canvas” of proteins.  You can make it into anything you want.  Marinate it with teriyaki sauce and include it in your stir fry, mix in barbecue sauce and add it to a veggie skewer for grilling, throw some silken tofu and blend it with some roasted red peppers to make a “creamy” red pepper pasta sauce. 

8)  Aim to have a minimum of 3 major food groups per main meal.

9) Aim to have a minimum of 2 major food groups per snack.

10)  Make your own soups.  Many soups include beans and vegetables as the main ingredient.  Its a great way to get your veggie and lean protein intake. 

11)  Beans!  They are high in fiber and iron, they are low-fat and a great source of protein.  Explore the beauty of beans and try some vegetarian burgers with beans as the main ingredient, make a low-fat chilli, a mexican bean dip or bean burritos. 

12)  Visit a farmers market.  There is no better way to get the most nutritional value of fruits and veggies than buying them as close to their picking time as possible.  The quality is better, they will taste better and you are supporting your local farming community. 

13)  Go for the Grain!  Rice and pasta are not the only starches out there, cook some grains for a super healthy starch option.  I highly recommend Quinoa (pronounced:  keen-wah), as it is high in nutrients and protein.  Experiment with barley, bulgur, steel-cut oats.  

14)  Cut back on salt and use fresh herbs/vegetables/spices  for flavor.  Minced garlic, grated ginger, fresh parsley, dill, cilantro, corriander….the list is endless.  Each adds an experience to your meals that will make it super yummy and healthy.

15)  Drink Water…lots of it!  Be creative to give it flavor.  Add some fresh slices of fruit such as oranges, lemons and limes.  Add a splash of cranberry juice and a lime wedge.  It’s very important to stay hydrated with fluids that contain minimal to no sugar added.

Support Your Local Farmers- The CSA approach


(This blog is inspired by someone who often inspires me- she lives by example, is a wonderful person, not only is she a superb Registered Dietitian, she is also one of my best friends.  I introduce to you, Amanda Terillo (Buchhalter).  Before I proceed, I want to tell you about how we became friends.  It was our second day of a new semester at C.W. Post- Long Island University.  A girl I have never met before comes up to me and asks where I live, she proceeds to tell me where she lives, then a few seconds later suggests we car pool to school together…and I agreed, albeit hesitant that I had no idea how these 2+ hour commutes to school would go with someone I don’t know, I mean, what if we couldn’t stand each other?  It turns out that not only did her amazing  company make those long semester days bearable, we made the best memories out of it and we have been great friends ever since. )

Amanda and her husband recently signed up for their first CSA– Community Supported Agriculture (click on the link to read about their experience, the easy process and other useful information). 

Amanda's CSA certificate

Community Supported Agriculture is a fantastic way to support your local farmers AND receive the freshest, best quality, nutritious seasonal fruits, veggies, and more, straight from their farms.  What makes CSA’s unique, is that you are supporting your farmers before they even begin to grow their crops. 

 “Each season, members purchase a share of a farmer’s crop before it’s planted. This allows the farmer to pay for seed, water, equipment, etc, upfront, so s/he is less reliant on banks and loans. Each week, usually during June through October, the farmer delivers great tasting, healthy food to pre-determined spots in the city. In some instances, members pick up the share from the farm directly.”

Amanda did her first pick up last week and she was able to write about her exciting experience and post about a delicious meal she made with her fresh items.  Read Productive Meal

Amanda explained the benefits of a CSA in such a beautiful way that she had me looking up for local CSA’s in Long Island immediately!.  She was also generous enough to include the delicious recipe that I cannot wait to try!  I encourage you to read her posts, but here is a snippet from her first CSA post:

Benefits to the Farmer

  • Helps them to market their food early in the year
  • Farmers receive payments early in the year which helps them to purchase the equipment they need
  • They get to know their consumer

Benefits to the Consumer

  • Get super fresh products
  • Get local products
  • Be more inclined to try new fruits and or vegetables
  • Knowing that you are directly helping local local economy

This leads me to my next point of the Benefits of Local Food

  • More Nutrients
    • The less time that food passes between the farm and the consumer, the fewer nutrients it will lose.
    •   Many vitamins and minerals are heat, light and pH sensitive. Fruits and vegetables are exposed to excessive heat, light and pH when in the truck traveling hundreds and thousands of miles, in the ware house, and sitting on the shelves of grocery stores
    • Local Fruits & Veggies are picked at their peak freshness, which makes them contain more nutrients
  • Last LongerLocal foods are often safer because local farmers take pride in their foods and do not use harmful substances such as:
    • Local Fruits & Veggies are picked more recently, which means you will have more time until they become moldy/smelly!
      •  Antibiotics are used to prevent sickness in animals. This can be harmful in humans as it encourages bacteria resistant pathogens.
      • Hormones
      • Steroids
      • Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH)
      • Pesticides
    • Taste (the most important part!!)
      • Local crops are picked at their peak of freshness
      • Farm made products, such as cheeses and jams are hand-crafted for the best flavor
      • Food traveling hundreds (or even thousands) of miles is older, has been stored in warehouses, super market shelves and traveled on planes/trains and cars before getting into your mouth

So there you have it:  great taste, the best quality, more nutrients and minimal chemicals- its a WIN-WIN…WIN!  I highly suggest doing some of your own research and find a CSA in your area

Note:  some may feel that even when purchasing produce from local farms, prices may still be a little higher than the big supermarket companies.  Well this is because those big companies can afford to do so…because they purchase produce that has been genetically modified, sprayed with chemicals, shipped across the country/overseas and has lost a great portion of their nutritional value.  The more we support our local farmers, the easier it will be for them to grow and sell more crops, hence a decrease in prices.  Again, WIN-WIN…WIN!