Category Archives: Recipe

Alexia with Big Bag of Flour

The Great Baking Escapade Begins

One of the initial issues of the 2020 Pandemic was a shortage of toilet paper, flour, and yeast. I am now the proud owner of 97 rolls of TP from a restaurant supplier and a 25-pound bag of flour from Costco. Yeast is still a touch-and-go situation. This is the first in a series of blogs of baking my way through 25 pounds of flour. So you know, I’m not much of a baker.

Alexia with Big Bag of Flour

My experience with baking is mostly limited to my time in Food Lab while an undergrad nutrition student. For some reason, an RD’s education including many hours devoted to baking. There is a lot of chemistry involved in cooking foods and this is especially true for baking. A lot happens from the initial mixing to the final cooking of quick breads and yeast breads. After my schooling, I have only made the occasional muffins.

I’m a well-educated novice.

My first two recipes were both for my husband’s birthday. I made cornbread as a side dish to his requested ribs. I followed that up with a mini-cake.

The cornbread recipe is here courtesy of Ina Garten and the Food Network. Trust me on this, you do NOT want to know the nutrition info on this one. It’s a bunch of cheesy, jalapeno-ey deliciousness. Just let all those nutrition concerns go and enjoy this recipe.

Cornbread in Pan and Sliced on Cutting Board

This was a very simple recipe. Not much to report baking-wise. The cornbread turned out okay, but it was more of a southern-style cakey-cornbread (due to the 3:1 ratio of flour to cornmeal). While delicious and a huge portion, I will not be making this one again.

Next up was a mini-cake with this recipe from Dessert for Two.

This was a more detailed recipe and all did not go as well as planned! The final product was very good – nice flavor, good crumb, perfect amount of sweetness that makes you go mmmmm without being too overpowering.

My biggest lesson from this recipe was that it does no good to melt butter for a recipe if your next step is to mix it with cold milk. The melted butter turns right back into solid butter! This could absolutely have been anticipated… yet I did not anticipate it. Next time I make this, because this one is a good recipe, I will make sure my milk is not cold before I start!

I should add that this was my first attempt at trying to actually decorate a cake. Don’t judge!

And while my husband liked the frosting, I prefer a frosting with cream cheese.

Follow my blog for more posts about the Great Baking Escapade and learn along with me!

Does An Apple A Day Really Keep The Doctor Away?

In honor of American Heart Month, we are celebrating apples for heart health! Check out our newest recipe (Cinnamon Roasted Apples) and read on to learn why affordable, delicious apples are a great choice for your health and how to always pick the best apple from the bunch.

First, where did this “apple a day” idea come from?  The expression originated in the United Kingdom, specifically, Pembrokeshire in Southern Wales. The original proverb was “To eat an apple before going to bed, will make the doctor beg his bread.” We found record of it first being published in the February 1866 edition of Notes and Queries magazine.


While there wasn’t really research done on apples way back then, they got it right about the possible health benefits of apples. Research shows many possible health benefits associated with apples due to some of the wonderful little phytochemicals (plant compounds) that are found in apples. For example, apples have:

  • Phenolic Compounds which may have antimicrobial properties and are associated with reduced risk of tooth decay
  • Flavonoids (specifically quercetin) which is associated with reduced risk of lung and colorectal cancer
  • Pectin, phytosterols and polyphenols which are associated lowering cholesterol levels which can reduce risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Flavonoids which may improve endothelial function (basically the ability of your blood vessels to expand and contract when they are supposed to) in people who are at risk for cardiovascular disease – which may reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease

So, yeah. apples, which happen to be the 2nd most eaten fruit (yay!) pack a powerhouse of nutrition-rich, health-promoting goodies!

All this being said. Please don’t rely on apples when you need to visit the doctor! 

Good news – apples are available year-round and believe it or not, every single state in the USA grows apples. This could be thanks in part to Johnny Appleseed (remember him?) who planted apple trees on his trek as the United States were settled. And we are happy he did as the crabapple is the only apple native to North America.

Let’s talk real life here. You’re in the grocery store and looking at a huge selection of different types of apples. How do you know which apple to choose?

Well, we always say the best choice is the one you enjoy the most, so feel free to grab your favorite type of apple and call it a day!

After that, look to your food budget… which brings more good news: apples are affordable. If your food budget is your main concern, choose the least expensive type of apple.

If you want more details though…

In terms of picking out a good-quality apple, select ones that are firm, show no signs of bruising or decay, and don’t have broken or shriveled skin.

Great tasting apples should be ripe when picked, to maintain consistent flavor, texture, and make them last longer. You can speed up ripening by leaving them at room temperature, then store in the refrigerator when they are ripe.

There are many varieties of apples, each variety with its own distinct characteristics. For example, the Red Delicious, is excellent eaten fresh or in a salad, but does not do well in roasting. Some apples that are good for baking and/or roasting are the Fuji, Gala, Golden, Granny Smith, and the Rome Beauty. Click for more information on the different types of apple varieties and what they are best suited for.


One medium apple has just under 100 calories, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 4.5 grams fiber, and 14% of the daily value for Vitamin C. It has no fat, very little protein (1/2 gram), no cholesterol, and only 2 mg of sodium (yes, natural foods have sodium – check out our series of videos on salt!).

Don’t peel your apples! Pectin and about 2/3 of the nutritional goodness (fiber and antioxidants) are in the skin. Also, be careful when juicing. There are approximately 2 1/4 apples in an 8-ounce glass of juice so you can really get a lot of calories and natural sugars by juicing and won’t register fullness the same way you would if you ate 2 apples.

The N.E.W. Motivation Coaching criteria for heart healthy foods includes (1) has fiber, (2) low saturated/trans fat, (3) low sodium, (4) low added sugars, and (5) not too high in calories. Apples are a perfectly heart-healthy choice!

Post a comment and let us know your favorite type apple or apple recipe! We are partial to the Honeycrisp variety and love us some good apple pie… and our Recipes Page has our Cinnamon Roasted Apple recipe which mimics the flavor of apple pie! YUM!

This blog was researched and written by Millie Yeamans, UNF Nutrition Student and edited by Alexia Lewis RD. We support RD2BE students!



  1. The Meaning And Origin Of The Expression: An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away. Accessed February 13, 2018.
  2. Kalinowska M, Bielawska A, Lewandowska-Siwkiewicz H, et al. Apples: Content of phenolic compounds vs. variety, part of apple and cultivation model, extraction of phenolic compounds, biological properties. Plant Physiol Biochem. 84 (2014) 169-188.
  3. Boyer J, Liu RH. Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits. Nutr J. 2004;3:5.
  4. Bondonno N, Bondonno C, Croft K, et al. Flavonoid-rich apple improves endothelial function in individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2018 Feb;62(3).
  5. Drake BH, Shertzer JK. Selecting, Storing, and Serving Ohio Apples. Published February 25, 2010. Accessed February 13, 2018
  6. McWilliams M. Fruits. Food Fundamentals. 10th ed. Pearson Education; 2014:120.
  7. Commodity Apples. Accessed February 14, 2018.
  8. Apple Facts. Accessed February 14, 2018.
  9. Apples, raw, with skin. Accessed February 14, 2018.


Butternut Squash Agnolotti

This is a #HelloFresh meal delivery review of the Butternut Squash Agnolotti with Kale in a Sage Brown Butter Sauce. HelloFresh provided a Meal Delivery Box containing three meals to me free of charge. This post is therefore #sponsored. As always, all opinions in my reviews are mine and I if love it or hate it, I’ll let you know.

Okay, first, do you love every single word in the recipe name? OMG yes! Butternut is a good friend of mine and a long-time Thanksgiving meal staple growing up. If you don’t know agnolotti, it is a type of ravioli – ravioli and I also go way back thanks to Chef Boyardee and this great restaurant in Brooklyn that I believe was called Cinzino’s (or something like that…). Then add kale (yes, how cliché, an RD who loves kale, I know), and brown butter sauce – heaven!!! Yes, please, get in my belly! Um, so it is safe to say I was just a bit excited going into this recipe.

The flavors of the pine nuts and butternut squash is what took this dish over the top for me. I love pine nuts but they are so expensive, even when bought in bulk so you can just get a small portion! All the pine nuts were used in the recipe but there was a fair amount of leftover kale, which was sliced into thin strips making it quick to cook and got rid of the thicker stems that can be so fibrous and chewy. I’m a fan of leftover ingredients and this kale was an addition to the next day’s salad.


I did make one mistake (as usual!) since I was multi-tasking with filming and taking pictures while I cooked. I added the whole 1-cup of reserved pasta water to the sauce when the recipe clearly says to start by adding 1/4 cup and add more as needed. Whoops! No harm, no foul as I just cooked the sauce down longer to evaporate some of the extra water (and left some liquid behind in the pan when serving…).

Nutritionally, one serving has 640 calories, 15 grams of saturated fats, 59 carbs, 9 grams of fiber, and 24 grams of protein.

What would I change? 

Since I’m currently typically eating five times a day (yep!), this dish is simply too much food/calories for one meal for me. This meal would fit nicely into many people’s meal plans with a satisfying number of calories and fairly balanced nutrition – or it could be split into two servings (bonus – no cooking the second night!) and served with a veggie side to get more bites per meal.

What did I love? 

This is one of HelloFresh’s 20-Minute Meals and it is such an easy recipe to make! The only chopping is to slice a shallot and mince garlic. That’s it! Chopping and prep work is the worst part of cooking to me so this is a big check in the win column for this recipe.

Lessons Learned?

Read the directions. Then read the directions. Then read them again.

HelloFresh provided a Meal Delivery Box containing three meals to me free of charge. This post is therefore #sponsored. As always, all opinions in my reviews are mine and I if love it or hate it, I’ll let you know.


Pork Tenderloin

Honey-Glazed Pork Tenderloin

This is a #HelloFresh meal delivery review of the Honey-Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans. HelloFresh provided a Meal Delivery Box containing three meals to me free of charge. This post is therefore #sponsored. As always, all opinions in my reviews are mine and I if love it or hate it, I’ll let you know.

This is such a simple, classic meal – meat, starch, veg – and it reminds me of the meals I would have growing up so this plate brought big flavor and down-home comfort.

Now, I had never cooked a pork loin prior to making this dish and while it was oh-so-gross (I’m one of those “ewwww raw meat don’t make me touch it” people) it was also oh-so-delicious and the final verdict was: the gross-factor of handling raw proteins is sometimes worth it!

But it will always be better when I can get hubs to do this part!

If you’ve seen my previous reviews, you may have noticed I have an issue with timing these meals and sometimes mess up the measuring.  I’m not only making the meal but also trying to video and take some photos as I go which throws the proverbial wrench into the timing-and-measuring machine. But this one is the first one that I mastered the timing with and didn’t mess up a single measure! I was so excited!!

The only difference between the instructions and my reality was that I let the pork cook for an additional five minutes for it to come up to food-safety temp. Unfortunately, the spices were past their prime when I got around to this recipe as it was the last one I made. I simply subbed out the fresh thyme for dried Italian seasoning.

Pork Tenderloin

Nutritionally, this dish comes in at 590 calories, 56 grams carbs, 41 grams protein, and 8 grams of saturated fats. I tend to stick to lower-carb dinners and try to keep my daily saturated fats under 12 grams so this meal was a little much for a dinner for me. But, quick fix was using less oil in the recipe and saving some sweet potato to go with tomorrow’s breakfast omelet (win!). In the plus column is 8 grams of fiber, no trans fat, and more than half the plate is colorful vegetables which is a great, easy way to gauge the nutrition quality of a meal.

What would I change?

I typically reduce the oil and salt in the recipes. In this dish: I did not use oil for roasting the potato or green beans but kept the butter for the glaze (because butter = delicious!). I also did not salt the meat prior to searing and found I had to add some at the table.

What did I love? 

The glaze – oh my goodness – the glaze is divine!

This is not only a gorgeous meal but also a very generous serving and – finally – I got enough vegetables on my dinner plate to satisfy my veggie-lovin appetite!

Things I learned?

I can conquer the ick of working with raw meat!!! And pork loin is something I will be adding into my meal rotation.

Roasted green beans are so good! I have never roasted them before!

HelloFresh provided a Meal Delivery Box containing three meals to me free of charge. This post is therefore #sponsored. As always, all opinions in my reviews are mine and I if love it or hate it, I’ll let you know.


Presto Pesto Panko Chicken

This is a #HelloFresh meal delivery review of the Presto Pesto Panko Chicken with a Green Salad and Roasted Potatoes. HelloFresh provided a Meal Delivery Box containing three meals to me free of charge. This post is therefore #sponsored. As always, all opinions in my reviews are mine and I if love it or hate it, I’ll let you know.

Admit it – you just said, “Presto Pesto Panko Chicken” out loud, didn’t you? No? Well, say it because it’s kind of fun to say! And it is good to eat too! That presto panko crust goes on top of pesto which goes on top of chicken – this layering results in a wonderfully moist chicken with a crispy crust!

Mangia! And mangia you will as this is one big plate of food!


Did you realize that chicken recipes are the most googled recipes? While I’ve said this for years and it makes total sense because have you had plain baked chicken? Bland and chewy! But… I actually have no evidence to back up this claim. So… I googled it. Google says “chicken as food” has been in the top 10 for 146 months. That’s a lot of people looking for chicken as food so I stand by this statement.

Image from:

Back to the dish…

Nutritionally, one serving comes in at 630 calories, 6 grams saturated fat, 50 grams carbs, 8 grams fiber, and 52 grams protein.

What would I change?

What I’m finding with HelloFresh meals is that – for how I eat – the calories, oil, and salt are too much for my preferences. It is easy to fix the oil and salt as I cook and I do this with every recipe. Fat and salt makes food delicious so I get it; it’s just not my cooking style and doesn’t fit in with my personal health goals.

Also, I would like more veggies! I’m a mostly-veg-for-my-meals type with a side of meat/protein and a small portion of carbs. This is also a quick fix by eating half the meal one night paired with some extra veg and saving half for the next night.

What did I love?

Easy peasy – the only chopping is the potatoes and the clean up was super fast.

The extras! Leftover ingredients included half the panko, half the pesto, and half a lemon. Score!

The crispy. I mentioned the chicken had a nice crunch but the potatoes were also soooo crispy. I love crunchy food and this dish delivered lots of crispy crunching.

Lessons Learned?

Okay. There is a definite trend. I need to read the directions better while multi-tasking with video and pictures! I used and entire HALF of the lemon when the recipe called for A SQUEEZE of juice on the greens! The salad was very puckery-lemony (totally on me, not HelloFresh!

HelloFresh provided a Meal Delivery Box containing three meals to me free of charge. This post is therefore #sponsored. As always, all opinions in my reviews are mine and I if love it or hate it, I’ll let you know.

A Pumpkiny Good Time

I had so much fun today sharing my new pumpkin recipes at the N.E.W. Motivation Coaching Pumpkin Love Make & Take!

These lucky ladies joined the fun and made a tangy pumpkin vinaigrette, a pumpkin-nilla-chai smoothie with no added sugar (thank you very much!), and some sweeeeeeet and healthy pumpkin power bites.

But I’m really just writing this blog to share the pictures. So, here they are!


For the Love of Pumpkin!

Why do we have such a fascination with pumpkin every autumn? Could it be the childhood memories of pumpkin carving, roasting pumpkin seeds, and the fun of dressing up for Halloween to go trick-or-treating? Or could it be the bombardment of some delicious pumpkin goodies being brought back on the market – hello PSL and Pumpkin Spice Cheerios – I see you!


I am firmly in the pro-pumpkin camp and will share some tidbits from an article I wrote way back in 2012:

Choose a pumpkin that is firm and has no visible damage or soft spots. The whole vegetable can be stored for months in a cool, dark, dry place. There is no need to refrigerate your pumpkins; they keep best around 55 Fahrenheit. Once you cut the pumpkin, however, it begins to deteriorate and only lasts a couple of days.

Pumpkin is a low calorie, fiber-rich, and nutrient-rich starchy vegetable. (Sorry my low-carb friends – pumpkin does not fall into the non-starchy veg category!) Pumpkin rates as a nutrition rock-star due to its vitamin A content. This is from the pigment, beta-carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A and gives pumpkin its orange color. Vitamin A promotes healthy eyes and vision and is involved with immune function and reproduction. It appears that vitamin A reduces risk of certain cancers in non-smokers and may slow vision loss associated with age-related macular degeneration. While there are concerns with too much vitamin A from supplements, beta-carotene has no adverse health effects except for a change in skin tone to an orange hue. This could be an advantage if you find yourself without a costume for Halloween…

Seeds are typically packed with vitamins and minerals and pumpkin seeds do not disappoint. If you have the calories to spare, you will also get a hefty amount of magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and zinc (all over 50% DV) as well as 25% DV of iron. Only 5 of the 28 grams of fat is saturated fat and there is no trans fat.

My company – N.E.W. Motivation Coaching – is hosting a Pumpkin Love Make & Take Workshop next week and I would love to have you join us if you are local!

Whatever the reason, pumpkin is a delicious and versatile addition to your meals and snacks. And I’m not just talking baked pumpkin deliciousness like pumpkin pie or pumpkin breads… I’m talking some new ways to add pumpkin to your plate with a Pumpkin Vinaigrette, a Pumpkin-Nilla Chai Smoothie, and Pumpkin Power Bites!


Recipe: Spicy Mexi-Bowl (Gluten-Free!)

Here is another delicious gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan recipe. This spicy Mexican-inspired quinoa and beans bowl is a quick to prepare, heart-healthy, and nutrition-rich meal that can be made ahead for take-to-work lunches or you can mix up a big batch for a family dinner.  You could even top it with an over-easy egg and make it a breakfast (although it won’t be vegan with that egg on it!).


And, before I forget – if you join up for our email newsletter before October 1, you will get a special offer on the Go Gluten Free or the Get Started Coaching Packages! Join today!

Here is the printer-friendly PDF: Recipe -Spicy Mexi-Bowl


A Mason Jar Meal-Prep Workshop Recipe by Alexia Lewis RD / N.E.W. Motivation Coaching

Makes 1 serving


1                          Mason Jar, 2-cup size

1 Tbsp                Red wine vinegar (or to taste)

1 tsp                    Lime juice

1/4 medium      Avocado (Florida), peeled and chopped

7                          Grape tomatoes, halved

1 Tbsp                Red onion, chopped (or to taste)

1 Tbsp                Jalapeño, deseeded and chopped

1/2 cup               Quinoa, cooked

1/2 cup               Black beans, low-sodium canned, rinsed or cooked from dry

1 tsp                   Cilantro, fresh, chopped


  1. Layer all ingredients in mason jar in order listed.
  2. Store refrigerated for 3-5 days depending on quality of mason jar seal
  3. To serve, shake food from jar into a bowl, toss to combine, and enjoy!

Nutrition per serving:

365 calories, 10 grams fat (1.5 grams saturated fat, 0 trans fat), 0 cholesterol, 153 milligrams sodium, 59 grams carbohydrates, 13 grams fiber, 4 grams natural sugar, 14 grams protein.


We recommend making four servings at once – that way you use up the whole avocado – and can cook 3/4 cup of dry quinoa which should give you about 2 1/4 cups cooked.

Recipe: Coco-Choco-Chia Pudding (Gluten-Free!)

We are so excited about publishing our first Celiac Disease ebook that we are sharing gluten-free recipes in advance of our gluten-free focused special deals for October! First up is a coconut, chocolate, chia seed pudding. So much yes!

This is one of three gluten-free, treats (snacks or desserts) we are showcasing at our next Make & Take Meal Prep Workshop but we love it so much we are sharing it with you here too. By the way, this recipe is also dairy-free and vegan! And yes, it can be all these things and still delicious!


If you want to also learn to make Peach (or Pineapple!) Cheesecake and the Peanut Pecan Dream, we invite you to join us at the October 13, 2017 workshop (or see Upcoming Events to find the next workshop!) where you get to make three gluten-free, healthy, and delicious desserts – that can also fit in as a great afternoon snack – and take four meal-prepped treats home with you.  You will get the recipes and learn about what makes these treats a healthier option and what’s really going on with sugar and your health.

Yes, I said healthy AND delicious. I mean, where else can you get 10 grams of fiber, 20% of the Daily Value (%DV) for Vitamin D, and 50% of the DV for calcium in a dessert!?? This is one treat you can feel good about giving your little ones (or enjoying for yourself!) because this sugar comes with some solid nutrition as well!

Without further ado – here is the recipe! Click for printer-friendly PDF!

Coco-Choco-Chia Pudding

A Mason Jar Meal-Prep Workshop Recipe by Alexia Lewis RD / N.E.W. Motivation Coaching

Makes 1 serving


 1                        Mason Jar, 1-cup size

3/4 cup           Almond milk, dark chocolate

2 Tbsp             Chia seeds

1 packet          Alternative sweetener

1 Tbsp             Coconut, shredded, no sugar added

1 pinch            Salt

2 Tbsp             Coconut whipped topping


1.      Measure all ingredients except coconut whipped topping into blender

2.     Blend for 30 seconds

3.     Pour mixture into mason jar

4.     Top with whipped topping

5.     Close jar tightly and store in refrigerator until ready to eat (up to 3-5 days)


250 calories, 14 g fat (5 g saturated fat, 0 trans fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 275 mg sodium, 30 g carbohydrates, 10 g fiber, 15 g sugar, 5 g protein plus 50% DV calcium and 20% DV Vitamin D


This will have a slightly “gritty” texture due to grinding the chia seeds, you can skip grinding (and skip alternative sweetener) but you should refrigerate 2 days before serving or pudding will be much more liquid. 

Reduce added sugar/carbohydrates by using unsweetened almond milk plus 1 scoop chocolate protein powder.



HelloFresh Meal Review: Sweet and Savory Plum Flatbreads with Ricotta, Charred Onion, and Arugula

I love every single word in the name of this dish! Color me excited to make this one!

If you want a deal, I can offer you this:  Get Cooking Today With HelloFresh And Get 50% Off!

HelloFresh categorizes this meal as a breakfast according to the recipe card. I think this would make a divine breakfast but it is just a little too much work for me to do while on my first cup of coffee. Don’t get me wrong, I love a hot breakfast. In fact, I have a hot breakfast pretty much every day! I can cook a veggie omelet with one eye closed and one hand on that coffee mug; but this recipe was just a bit too involved for that level of attention (or rather that lack of attention…).

As the video shows, there are not that many steps but there is some multi-tasking. Once again, I turned to my non-stick pan so my plums did not get any delicious carmelization action… and my onions did not get charred. I think I was a wee bit heavy-handed with the oil (which you may notice in the video!).

What would I change? Well, per the recipe card, this recipe calls for 5 teaspoons of olive oil for 2 servings. I love me some healthy oils but this was too much for me. Reducing the oil could easily be done by omitting from arugula and not coating the flatbreads and I think the recipe would be just as good without this much oil. I also found this dish to be flavorful enough without the honey drizzle – which was fun to do – but omitting honey would reduce the sugar which comes in at 21 grams. For my taste buds, the extra sweetness is not needed and doesn’t add any extra nutrition.

What did I love? Once again – this is a meal of delicious flavors that I would never have thought to put together. I love that HelloFresh is introducing me to new flavor combinations! I got excited a while back mixing blackberries and blue cheese (uh, yeah, so good!) but plums and red onion? No way! Totally works. I also love the small amounts of leftover ingredients. This time I had some pomegranate balsamic vinegar and almonds that got tossed onto the next days lunch salad… and there was leftover arugula which hubs and I ate on the side with the flatbreads.

Things I learned:

Non-stick pans – once again – are not always the best option

There is a world of flatbreads outside of my stand-by FlatOut wraps

I really have to double-check that my video shots are centered before I film!

Here’s that info again if you want to take advantage of the discount I can offer you to try out HelloFresh! Get Cooking Today With HelloFresh And Get 50% Off!


HelloFresh provided a Meal Delivery Box containing three meals to me free of charge. This is #sponsored and I was so impressed that I have joined their #affiliate program. As always, all opinions in my reviews are mine and I if love it or hate it, I’ll let you know.