Spiced Pear Baked Oatmeal

For this month’s recipe redux, I took a little different approach to the theme – good luck foods. Sauerkraut at New Years was commonly enjoyed by my family, minus myself , who couldn’t get over the smell of it cooking to actually give it a try… Ha! I know black eyed peas are another good luck food, but they are tough to flavor without bacon/ham/pork, which isn’t my thing as a vegetarian. Round foods are also considered good luck – so I thought, why not bake oatmeal in a skillet?! Can that count as round? In some cultures, it’s tradition to hide a trinket or coin in your pudding or cake as a sign of good luck for whoever receives it in their piece. Why not hide a little something in these oats for someone to find on New Years morning? (Warning your guests beforehand of course!) Plus, what better way to start off the new year on a healthy note than with this hearty vegan breakfast? Sounds like a great idea to me!



Pear Oatmeal

Spiced Pear Baked Oatmeal

(Serves 6-8, Vegan)


  • 2 cups of oats
  • 1 (13.5 oz) can light coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-3 pears, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Dash of salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease cast iron skillet with cooking spray.
  3. Combine all ingredients except pears in a large bowl. Stir until well combined.
  4. Pour oat mixture into skillet and spread evenly in the pan.
  5. Arrange sliced pears over the top of the oats.
  6. Cook at 350 degrees for ~40 minutes.

Serve warm with a dash of cream or your favorite plant-based milk and a side of hot coffee or tea.

What is your favorite good luck food? Click the link below to see what the rest of the Recipe Redux bloggers make to ring in the good luck with the new year!!

Top 13 Healthy Recipes of 2013

Goodness. This week has been a crazy one! Would you believe that I just started my Christmas shopping?! Yeah… I need to get better about that next year! Anyways, today I thought I would share my favorite recipes from the blog over the last year. Some of these recipes we have made a several times since I’ve posted them! Feel free to try them and add any of these dishes to your regular meal rotation – especially those looking to start off the new year on a healthier note. Since they are all healthy (ie. Dietitian approved) you can’t lose!


Vegan Lentil Stew with Roasted Squash and Kale

Peppermint Macaroons 3

Dark Chocolate Mint Macaroons

Larabar in Jar

Homemade Larabar in a Jar


Vegan Sweet and Sour Tempeh Kale Stir-Fry


Overnight Chia Oats


Superfood Bowl with Spicy Kale and Tempeh


Pumpkin Spice Smoothie


Spicy Tofu Curry


Vegan Coconut Cream Cups

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Harvest Hot Toddy


Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant


Pomegranate, Walnut, and Squash Salad


Vegan Apricot Coconut Granola

Guest Post: Cute DIY Holiday Cards!

Today, on Dietitian Debbie Dishes, I have a special guest – Esther from Chocolate Runner Girl! We connected through Elf for Health and I’m so excited to have her share her card making expertise on the blog today. 

Hello all!  This is Esther over at Chocolate Runner Girl!  It is my privilege to be a guest blogger today for Debbie!  Thanks to the Elf for Health (Elf4Health) challenge, we were matched together for a fun blog exchange!  I normally post about food and fitness, but I wanted to step out of my box today to talk about something else in my life that I am passionate about.

During this time of year everywhere I look there seems to be Christmas/holiday cards on sale.  A few years ago as I looked for some cards to send my family and friends, there was nothing that really stood out to me.  I decided that I would make my own!  I was a bit overwhelmed at first with where to start, but once I got going I found a style that was pretty simple, and it was a lot of fun!  I ended up making cards for other holidays and celebrations and even starting a small (as in tiny) card business! It is a fun way to add a personal touch to all special occasions!

I first purchase my supplies from a craft store, like Michaels, or Hobby Lobby.  I tend to buy my paper in bulk since I make many cards at the same time. The craft stores have aisles of paper to choose from, and I have to admit I have a hard time only choosing a few!  So many pretty colors and patterns!!
Over the past few weeks, several friends have asked me how I make my cards, and I can’t think of a better time to share some of my tips!

Here is an example of how I made a card for this holiday season. Once I have picked my paper, blank card, and any stickers or stamps to add to it, I grab a glue stick  and scissors & get ready to put the card(s) together.


Step one: Fold and cut the paper to the size of the card. It is helpful to lightly trace the back of the paper with a pencil to know where to cut.

Step two: Glue the paper to the card and then cut any extra paper off!

Step three: Add any embellishments such as stickers, stamps or both 🙂

Here are some samples of cards: I like to make some more traditional cards, and some that are fun too!  I am a huge fan of sparkles, so adding anything that glitters to the cards makes me smile!



You can check out more:
Facebook pages: Esma Card Company and Chocolate Runner Girl
Twitter: @run_chocolate
Instagram: chocolaterunnergirl

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Macaroons

Will and I just got back from a lovely wedding weekend in Memphis for our friends Alex and Johnathan.  Our flight back to Chicago this morning was early so we had most of the day off today to catch up on grocery shopping, weekend food prep, and of course an annual tradition – watching Elf! I was in the mood to do a little bit of baking so I whipped up a batch of these macaroons. Macaroons are so easy to make and are absolutely delicious. I put a different spin on these by adding some peppermint extract and drizzling in dark chocolate. Macaroons are a great little treat for those working to stay healthy over the holidays. They are a lot lower in calories than other cookies, plus you have the added benefit of some fiber from the flaked coconut. Macaroons are also a great DIY gift for family and friends – even those with food allergies since they are gluten-free!

Peppermint Macaroons 2

Peppermint Macaroons 3

Peppermint Macaroons

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Macaroons 

(Makes 12-15; Gluten-Free, Low Fat)


  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Dash of salt
  • 1-2 ounces melted dark chocolate


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place egg whites in bowl and whip until they form soft peaks.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients except for chocolate to the whipped eggs. Stir gently until well mixed.
  4. Drop coconut mixture by teaspoons onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Bake for 15 minutes or until cookies begin to brown around the edges. Set on the counter to cool.
  5. Melt chocolate over the stove. Drizzle onto macaroons. Let cool and serve!

Seasonal Food Spotlight: Brussels Sprouts

Similar to kale’s rise to fame, brussels sprouts are now having their turn in the spotlight. Despite their reputation for being repugnant to kids, they can actually be really delicious! I actually didn’t start eating brussels sprouts until grad school when Will introduced me to roasted sprouts – so yummy. The simplest way to prepare these little guys is to halve them, toss in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for ~35 minutes or until browned. They pair well with feta cheese and balsamic vinegar. Here’s 5 reasons why these sprouts are so healthy for you:

  • One serving (1 cup) has only 38 calories and over 3 grams of fiber.  The extra heart healthy fiber can help lower cholesterol.
  • Brussels sprouts provide up to 120% of your daily need for Vitamin C.
  • They are full of cancer fighting antioxidants like glucosinolate.
  • These sprouts are also a great source of folate.
  • The sulfur compounds in brussels sprouts are reported to help with detoxification processes in the liver.


To get started on eating this healthy food, here are a few recipes!

Maple Pumpkin Oats

I’ll confess, I am the kind of person who wakes up excited about breakfast!  These days, I look forward to warming up on chilly mornings with a bowl of hot oatmeal. Since oats can be boring on their own, I am always experimenting with new toppings and mix-ins. This pumpkin version though is one of my absolute favorites. Pomegranate seeds were a new topping addition that paired perfectly with the pumpkin! You’ll definitely start your day off on a healthy note since this bowl is full of soluble fiber, vitamin A, and Omega 3 fatty acids. The recipe below makes enough for one hearty bowl of oatmeal but feel free to double or triple the recipe to feed family or guests.

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Maple Pumpkin Oats

(Serves 1)


  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/8 cup pomegranate seeds
  • Sprinkle of chia seeds


  1. Mix oats and milk in a bowl. Microwave on high for 3-5 minutes or until oats have soaked up most of the milk.
  2. Stir in the pumpkin, syrup, and cinnamon.
  3. Top with walnuts, pomegranate, and chia.

Harvest Hot Toddy

Now that cold weather is here to stay, I wanted to share my version of a classic winter drink with you. The hot toddy is honestly one of the perfect alcoholic drinks for wintry nights and they are super simple to make. I love sipping hot tea in the winter and the addition of a little bit of gin makes it even better! We actually found a locally sourced gin called Death’s Door which blends really well with the spiced tea in these. Hot toddies are a great low calorie, low sugar beverage for holiday parties since there isn’t a lot of fruit juice or sugary syrup. The tea I used for these is one of my new favorites from Trader Joe’s called Harvest Blend Herbal Tea. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby, simply pick up an herbal tea with a strong cinnamon note to it.

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Hot Toddy

Harvest Hot Toddy

(Serves 2)


  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 tea bags of harvest blend herbal tea
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 4 oz. gin (we like Death’s Door)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks


  1. Add tea bags to hot water and let steep for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Pour 1/2 oz. juice and 2 oz. gin into each mug. Add 1 cup of tea.
  3. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and lemon wedges.

Holiday Gift Guide for Her

I love Christmas, but I get a bit anxious when it comes to Christmas shopping. It can be a lot of pressure, right? You want to get that “perfect” gift for the special people in your life. This means that I usually procrastinate when it comes to shopping since I spend so much time debating about what to buy. So, I haven’t started shopping for anyone on my list yet… Eek! Do any of you procrastinate on your Christmas shopping? In case you are like me and need a little inspiration before you do a little shopping this weekend, here are a few of the fun things I’ve come across online this week.

Holiday Gift Guide

  1. Knit boot socks from Etsy. These socks look comfy, cozy for keeping your toes warm in tall boots or just lounging around the house.
  2. African sunset necklace and matching accessories from Noonday. I love the current trend of large, colorful jewelry to add a pop of color to outfits. Not only does Noonday have beautiful jewelry, but they help provide a livable income to people in resource poor countries through their jewelry sales.
  3. Silhouette camera bag. After investing in a DSLR camera a few months ago, I have been on the lookout for a stylish yet functional camera bag. This silhouette camera bag looks like the perfect. If you have a photographer in your life, they would love this bag!
  4. Anchinalu scarf. Honestly, I feel that a girl can never have too many scarves. Any scarf like this one from Fashionable is a fun way to liven up an outfit. All scarves are hand crafted by women in Africa supported by this organization and includes a thank you note attached.
  5. A Bit Spotty Briggi lunch box. What better way to brighten up your workday than pulling this adorable lunch box out of the employee fridge?
  6. The Oh She Glows Cookbook. If you have a foodie, vegetarian, or vegan in your life – this is the cookbook for them! The author, Angela, is a fabulous blogger so I am more than excited to see what yummy recipes she has in store in her cookbook.
  7. The Simplified Planner by Emily Ley. I don’t know about you, but I could always use a little help to be more organized! This gorgeous planner looks like the perfect way to start 2014 off in perfect order.

How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Holiday Bulge

With all the decadent food, holiday parties, and other festivities between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it can be difficult to make it to New Years a few added pounds. It’s no wonder that the most popular New Year’s resolution is weight loss. However, this doesn’t have to be the case! By playing it smart from Thanksgiving to January 1st, you truly can maintain your weight. These tips are sure to help you survive the holidays without adding on some extra jiggle.

1. Yes, it’s ok to indulge. Some treats like gingerbread men, pumpkin pie, fudge and more are only around for the holidays. Don’t deprive yourself – enjoy! The trick is to choose smaller portions of your seasonal favorites and eat them slowly so you can savor them. Once you’ve had your favorite dish, give away the leftover and move on.

2. Eat healthy all day long. If you know you are going to fall off the bandwagon by indulging in treats, don’t abandon ship and just eat poorly the entire season long. Make an effort to eat a healthy breakfast and incorporate at least 2-3 servings of vegetables every day.

3. Make healthy eating easy. The holidays can be a very busy time of year which means that meal prep should be simple. Take some time on the weekend to chop up all the fresh fruits and vegetables from your shopping trip to save time later in the week. You can also just switch to pre-chopped vegetables or frozen produce to make things even easier. My favorite way to prepare vegetables  in the winter is to roast them with a bit of salt and olive oil. I’ll do a big batch on the weekend so I can just reheat them for dinner or toss them on salads for lunch.

4. Hide the treats, showcase the healthy eats. Think out of sight; out of mind. Keep fresh fruit on the counter and plenty of fresh cut vegetables, hummus, plain yogurt, and cheese sticks in the fridge so they are the first things you see when coming to the kitchen when you have the munchies. Since the healthier snacks are in plain sight, you may be more likely to reach for those before you dig through cabinets to find the holiday treats.

5. Make movement a priority. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it can be easy to let your workout routine get bumped down to the end of your to-do list. Instead, look online for short intense workouts you can do at home in the morning or make an extra lap around the store to add some walking.

6. Beware the “red cup”. Yes, I agree that the gingerbread latte and peppermint mocha from Starbucks are delicious. However, if you find yourself with red cup in hand more than once or twice a week, you may want to reconsider how you get your caffeine fix. Choose unflavored drinks or ask them to decrease the amount of syrup they add – otherwise those sugary calories add up quickly!

 7. Join a healthy holiday challenge. I know I have been loving the fun activities and social media activity from Elf for Health! There are dozens of other challenges with supportive community members to help you stay healthy through the holidays. Check out this December Workout Challenge via Bess Be Fit or the Move Happy Challenge from Better with Veggies.

How do you stay healthy over the holidays?

Honey Coconut Latte

Throughout college and grad school, one of my absolute favorite places to be was the local coffee shop. It was such a great environment for getting a caffeine fix while studying or chatting with friends. These days, I definitely don’t spend as much time at the local coffee place as I used to, but I still love it just the same. This weekend, Will and I spent the afternoon at Ipsento Coffee, just  a few blocks from our house. I decided to splurge and try their signature latte – it was incredible! The thing that sold me on this drink was the dash of cayenne pepper; I love the hint of spice it gives this latte. The coconut milk also adds a lot of great flavor. Since I don’t want to be spending all of my money at the coffee shop, I decided to recreate it at home and share with you!

Honey Coconut Latte

Honey Coconut Latte

(Makes 1 latte)


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk/cream
  • 1-2 shots of espresso or 3 oz. strong coffee
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Dash of cayenne pepper


  1. Heat milk and coconut cream together until hot. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.

Snuggle up on the couch and enjoy!