January 2019
Happy New Year!

As I type this letter, I'm counting my blessings from 2018 and am anxious for the new year to get underway.

In this issue, I'll introduce my niece Abbie and nephew Jack and share some of my favorite memories from Christmas in Oregon.

For the new year and the healthier lifestyle resolutions that are sure to go along with it, I'll share some healthy and satisfying recipes for you to try when you are looking for some new ideas to keep you focused and on track.

I wish you all the best in 2019!

Savor the flavors,

  Christmas in the Kitchen

It seems whenever family gets together, the best catching up is done in the kitchen. My husband Lee and I were fortunate to spend Christmas in Oregon with my sister Penny and her husband Jim and their two children, Abbie (13) and Jack (10). Though I love to cook, it's extra special when someone cooks for me. 

My niece Abbie cooked our dinner on Christmas Eve all by herself. She treated us to Chicken and Bean Enchiladas and homemade Guacamole. While on a family vacation to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Abbie chose a molcajete as her souvenir. I enjoyed watching her prepare the guacamole and we all devoured it and the delicious enchiladas. Abbie cooks the family meals several nights a week. I really wish I lived closer.

My nephew Jack wanted to make a gingerbread house. He talked his mother into purchasing a kit and it was up to him and me to assemble and decorate it. As things go, we had a little difficulty with the kit. The premade icing in the kit just wouldn't set. We had the whole house assembled (luckily not decorated) and had walked away, when a few minutes later, it collapsed. Not ones to be easily defeated, we scraped off the icing and then made Royal Icing to decorate our homemade gingerbread cookies and to reassemble the gingerbread house. Things went much better the second time around. Jack was very hands-on throughout the project and tenacious to the end.
Fish en Papillote

Fish is always a great heart healthy go-to protein. Baking it en papillote or "in parchment" is easy and makes a weeknight meal feel like a special occasion. You can use just about any fish of choice as the method is quite versatile. I usually use mahi mahi or snapper. Click  here to print or save the recipe.

Eating More Whole Grains and Plant Protein

Recently, I participated in a healthy eating challenge. I feel my eating habits are generally quite good, but there is always room for improvement. The challenge went for 4 weeks, and each week there was a different focus. The first week was to try to eat 5, ½ cup servings of fruit or vegetables each day. This one was easy for me. Other weeks focused on consuming plant protein such as nuts and legumes, and another on trying to incorporate more whole grains.

The challenge served as inspiration. I created this recipe for  Sesame Garbanzo Quinoa Salad. Quinoa is a whole grain. 1 cup has 24 grams of protein compared to 1 cup of white rice which has 4.3 grams. The garbanzo beans and peanuts are also great sources of protein. I found it great as a side dish but also made meals of it for lunches. It's flavorful, filling, fresh tasting and crunchy delicious. Click  here to print or save the recipe.