Light 4th of July Dessert Recipe

Light 4th of july dessert recipesMy sister made this dessert recipe a few months ago, and I loved it! Probably because it was a Giada recipe. My favorite chef inspiration. Very light 4th of July dessert recipe and you can make it dairy or gluten free depending on your preferences.

If you are dairy free, you could easily substitute a coconut yogurt.

Strawberry Cream Parfaits

Ingredients:how to mash stawberries

  • 1 lb. bag of strawberries (Frozen or fresh: If fresh, you will want to add 1-2 tsp. sugar and let sit to allow the strawberries to get “juicy”).
  • 1 cup heavy whipped cream, refrigerated
  • 2 Tbsp. sour cream
  • Meringue cookies – 1 container (Check the ingredients. We used gluten free vanilla ones.)


  1. Mash the strawberries with a “masher” that you would normally use to mash potatoes, etc. Do this until they are “chunky” consistency.
  2. Next, whip the whipped cream! Combine the sour cream and whipped cream. Beat until you have stiff peaks.
  3. Meanwhile, crush your meringue cookies.
  4. Gently, stir/fold in the cookies into the whipped cream mixture.
  5. Take 4 small mason jars or glasses, and fill with layered amounts of the mashed strawberries and whipped cream mixture.

You can chill these until ready to eat! They are so light a refreshing with no actual added sugar (except for what was in the meringues added already).

It would look much cuter if you put them in little mason jars as well. I also recommend doubling or tripling the recipe. This particular recipe only makes 4 servings.

Grain Free Coconut Cookies

I was looking to make a completely sinless cookie that is also gluten free. Tough idea, but I haven’t eaten cookies in forever since I have been avoiding wheat and cutting back on sugar as much as possible.

This “cookie” recipe does not make true cookies–they are definitely more of a health food cookie. Just letting you know so you don’t make these and expect a different final product!

I cooked them on a griddle pan so that the outside got crispy. You want to almost have a pancake cooking technique with these.

Grain Free Coconut Cookies

Makes about about 9 small cookies


  • 1 scoop whey protein powder or similar
  • 2/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk (just enough to moisten to cookie dough consistency)
  • 2 tsp. stevia
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • pinch of salt

For cooking:

  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. stevia + 2 tsp. sugar (for coating the “cookies”)


  1. Preheat a skillet and add 2 tsp. butter to allow to melt.
  2. Combine all ingredients (except the last 2 ingredients for cooking), and mix well.  Form small 1/2-1 inch cookie shaped dough balls.
  3. Press the cookie dough balls into the hot skillet. Sprinkle with the stevia/sugar mixture. Flip after 2-3 minutes. Then, sprinkle with the stevia/sugar mixture again. Cook 5-7 more minutes until thoroughly heated throughout.

With this recipe, I like to experiment with consistencies and ingredients. You can add in different ingredients. For example, try cocoa powder for a little chocolate flavor! Or, how about some dried fruit?

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How Stressed Are You?cortisol testing Atlanta

Low energy? Fatigue? Belly fat? Sleep issues? Hard to cope with stress? These are common complaints of those who suffer from cortisol imbalances.

As a Registered Dietitian, adrenal testing is not fully a nutritional service or treatment. However, it is my goal to empower my patients with the most knowledge to be able to reach their health goals more independently.  I want to help you understand your body clock and stress response. This is one reason why I am now offering adrenal cortisol testing.

Why test your cortisol levels?

This can help us understand your body’s natural rhythms. Once the body clock is off track, this can lead to disruptions in metabolism and make it difficult to reach your goals.

  • Better balance sugar metabolism
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Can nutrition help support healthy adrenal glands and cortisol levels?

Absolutely! We want to make sure you are getting the right balance on nutrients, primarily the B vitamins, to make sure you are supporting the body’s stress response. Sometimes there are various herbs that can be used to support as well.


Other Expert Opinions:

“Dr. Low Dog notes, however, that saliva tests for cortisol, the adrenal hormone that mediates stress responses, are now considered highly reliable and that a growing body of evidence suggests that saliva tests can also accurately determine levels of the testosterone and DHEA (a precursor to male and female sex hormones, including androgens and estrogens).” -Dr. Weil

“The more pronounced cortisol response in saliva than in serum and its closer correlation with adreno-corticotrophic hormone offer advantages over serum cortisol, suggesting salivary cortisol measurement may be used as an alternative parameter in dynamic endocrine test.” -Clin Chem Lab Med. 1998 Apr;36(4):215-22.

Related to the thyroid: “Saliva testing will measure your cellular levels at four key times in a 24 hour period–revealing whether you have high cortisol (which can have similar to symptoms to low cortisol), or a mix of highs and lows…, or a majority of lows, which is extremely problematic when raising thyroid meds, causing hyper-like symptoms and excess RT3.” –STTM

I do not diagnose or medically treat disease (except for the use of medical nutrition therapy). Please seek your doctor for all medical questions and treatment.

Meal Planning for Monday

I am going to start a new weekly recipe round-up post that will include recipes I find all over the blogosphere. I am always recommending to clients to pick out a few new recipes each week and shop for them. So, I will make it even a little easier and list a few of my favorite recipe ideas each week. These may not be recipes that I have already cooked. They are more of an inspiration, and helpful in prepping and planning for the week ahead!




Have fun! What are you making this next week?

3 Ingredient Protein Pancakes!

These are the easiest protein pancakes that I have ever made. They do get a little crumbly because they are only 3 ingredients. But, the taste is still great, and they are very filling due to the high protein and fiber content. I will also give you options of other ingredients you can add to enhance the texture and flavor.

3 ingredient protein pancake

3 Ingredient Protein Pancakes

Makes 1 serving of 4 medium pancakes

Other ingredients you could add if you have on hand:

  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder to help rise
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 egg


  1. Preheat a griddle plan on medium heat. I use butter to coat the plan (you can use whatever you prefer to coat the pan).
  2. Meanwhile, combine all of your ingredients, and add enough water to moisten to the consistency of a thicker pancake batter. Make sure to keep the consistency a little thicker and not too runny or it will not work right.
  3. Add four dollops of the batter onto the pan, and flip when start to see steam.

easy protein pancakes

This is what they looked like when I first flipped them. But, I recommend flipping them over one last time to make sure they are cooked.

Top with a drizzle of local honey, or real maple syrup! Sometimes I like to put nut butter on top for a healthy fat source.

Approx Nutrition Facts: (for 4 pancakes): 400 calories, 41 g protein, 10 g fat, 26 g net carbohydrates.

I love how much protein these have because sometimes it is very difficult for me to get my protein in my day. So, it is a good way to start the day off right!

Healthy Snack Idea: Roasted Chickpeas

Sometimes get tired of the usual snacks: veggies, hummus, fresh fruits, bars, seeds, and nuts. And that is when I whip up some roasted chickpeas!

I had been buying the pre-packacked Good Bean snacks from Target, Whole Foods, or HomeGoods. I love them, but one pack is about $4. You can make them on your own for about $2 (plus the cost of energy to cook them) and you can make double or triple the amount. I will say that The Good Beans snacks come out much dryer and crispier than the ones you make at home (unless you have a good quality dehydrator–you could get closer).

healthy snack ideas: roasted chickpeas

Roasted Chickpeas


  • 1, 1 lb. bag of dry chickpeas or garbanzo beans
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp. stevia
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. real honey (I don’t measure–eyeball it)
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (optional, or just use more cinnamon)
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt


  1. Plan ahead: Soak your beans in water (keep them covered to keep things sanitary) for one full day and one full night (24 hours total). After the first 12 hours or so, drain the water out and add fresh new water and soak 12 more hours. Drain, and set aside. Pat your chickpeas dry with a paper towel.
  2. Preheat your oven to 275 F.
  3. Pour the chickpeas into a large mixing bowl, then add all remaining ingredients. Allow the coconut oil to liquefy (may need to heat it a few seconds) so you can pour into the chickpea, sugar, and spices mixture.
  4. Stir to combine. Pour out onto a baking sheet.
  5. Bake 20 minutes. Stir. Then, turn up the temperature to 300 F. Bake 20 more minutes.
  6. Check to see if they have browned. Stir. Bake 10-20 more minutes as needed.*
  7. Cool. Upon cooling, they will harden/crisp more.

*Baking time will vary. You know they are done when some sides of the chickpeas turn a dark brown. You don’t want to burn them, but you do want them to shrink in size and have some sides of the beans turn brown.

Approximate nutritionals: 1 oz. will be about 5 g protein, 5 g fiber, and a little over 100 calories.

Loaded Baked Cauliflower

Instead of a loaded baked potato, how about loaded baked mashed cauliflower? Sounds like a delicious idea to me. It is grain free, gluten free, soy free. It is not dairy free, although you could use a vegan cheese or skip the dairy altogether and use more garlic and olive oil.

loaded baked cauliflower

This isn’t the prettiest picture, but I was too excited to eat it that I couldn’t wait to fancy up my picture! Haha.

I would recommend making either one large casserole of this in a 9×13 pan or using individual ramekin baking dishes to make everyone their own loaded faux-potato side dish. That makes for a nicer presentation.

The ingredients may not seem the healthiest, but overall, the recipe is pretty healthy because you are using a ton of cauliflower and a much smaller percentage of “unhealthy” ingredients like butter, cheese, bacon.


  • 2, 1 lb. bags of frozen cauliflower (2 lb. total), thawed to room temperature
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup milk of your choice (I would NOT use any vanilla-flavored or sweetened milks such as almond or soy)
  • 1/3-1/2 cup reduced fat cream cheese (organic preferable)
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese for topping (you may want more cheese if you like it cheesier!)
  • 1 package natural bacon (I bought the pre-cooked natural bacon and used about 3/4 of the package)

mashed cauliflower


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Add all of the ingredients except the milk, cheddar cheese, and bacon to a large food processor. Pulse until chopped. Then, add in the milk gradually and process until the consistency is like that of mashed potatoes!
  3. Pour into your baking dish of choice, and top with the cheddar cheese (shredded cheese).
  4. Next, if you are using pre-cooked natural bacon, tear into bite size pieces and add on top of the cauliflower-cheese mash.
  5. Cover and bake for about 45-60 minutes, cooking uncovered the last 15 minutes.

cauliflower baked potato

Super delicious! And it really tastes like potato. Why would I do this? Well, on my LEAP diet, I am not supposed to be eating potatoes (my body is reactive to potato and it causes a delayed food sensitivity). Others might want to try to get in more non-starchy vegetables and try to reduce carbohydrates for various personal health reasons!

Mobile Nutrition Counseling

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Users will have a Registered Dietitian (Nicole) assigned to their personal, private account for daily tracking, feedback and recommendations on your daily diet, 7 days per week.

Users will record their diet with the mobile application throughout the day and automatically build a daily profile of their diet. At midnight, the profile is passed to your assigned Registered Dietitian for evaluation and feedback on that specific 24 hour timeline. The relationship is private, secure and convenient for users.Atlanta nutrition

Who Can Benefit?

  • Those looking for the most accountable, trusted weight loss plan or program
  • Those looking to change their micronutrient intakes (vitamins, minerals)
    • Great for those with specific health concerns
  • Those who want to have their macronutrients assessed (fat, carbohydrate, protein ratios)
    • Great for sports or fitness training

Have a question if this is right for you? Just ask!mobile nutrition counseling

How to Record Meals

Step 1 – Choose “Meal Input” tab on app homepage

Step 2 – Touch picture icon on upper left and take a picture of meal from 12 inches away. Add details of meal ingredients and portion of meal consumed if you choose to provide details for your Registered Dietitian. Also identify hydration throughout the day. The process takes less than a minute!

Record Daily Activities

Step 1 – Choose the “Physical Activity” tab on the app homepage.

Step 2 – Users have the option to record their daily physical activity, sleep hours, stress levels, stress level reduction and weight for their Registered Dietitian to acknowledge when reviewing the daily diet. This can be very important if regular activity, stress levels or sleep levels leads to increased/decreased meal consumption.

Your Dietitian Response

At midnight, your previous 24 hour diet timeline will be passed to your Registered Dietitian (Nicole) for evaluation. Nicole will review your diet and provide a daily summary, rate specific categories such as unhealthy fats, sodium, sugar, fruits/vegetables, quality and quantity and then leave a personal message via text, voicemail or video clip. The user will receive an email from their Dietitian when the daily response is ready.

Getting Results

Users will receive an email when their daily response is ready for viewing. Users are encouraged to login to the website to view responses so they can view their personal graphs that detail their personal ratings and progress. Responses can also be viewed within the mobile app but the website provides a more enriched experience with additional details.

How does a Registered Dietitian differ from a “nutritionist”?

Registered dietitians are highly educated and skilled nutritionists. However, the term ‘nutritionist’ is not as well regulated. A nutritionist may have a degree in nutrition, and (often) may not. While there are some nutritionists who teach evidence-based (and scientifically-validated) information, many do not. It is difficult to validate the credentials of a nutritionist, but quite simple to validate the education, experience and skills of Registered Dietitians. In many states anyone can call themselves a ‘Nutritionist’, even if they have never taken a class in nutrition from an accredited university. The mobile app is guided by Nicole, Registered Dietitian – the premier source for evidence-based diet and nutrition information.

Atlanta nutrition

Cauliflower “Fried Rice”

I have seen this cauliflower “fried rice” idea on Pinterest, and have been wanting to try it out to see if it is as good as it looks. It turned out really well! And it was easier to make (and took less time) than I thought. This recipe works well on my grain free diet that I am doing right now. And is gluten free as long as you use gluten free soy sauce.

cauliflower "fried rice"

Cauliflower “Fried Rice”


  • 1 lb. chicken breast or tenderloins diced and marinated ahead of time in San-J cooking sauce (gluten free, GMO free)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. gluten free tamari soy sauce (I use the San-J brand)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 head of cauliflower, processed in food processor or grated with cheese grater
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1″ piece of fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 small head of broccoli, chopped (or you could use frozen peas for your “green” food)
  • 1 small can bamboo shoots (optional)
  • 1 small can sliced water chestnuts (optional)


  1. Start marinating your chicken at least a few hours ahead of cooking time (or overnight). Make sure to cut the chicken ahead of time. I use about half the bottle of the San-J cooking sauce (I like the szechuan flavored sauce).
  2. Grate the cauliflower by adding to a food processor (easiest), or you can grate against a cheese grater.
  3. In a large saute pan, add you olive oil or sesame oil, and saute the onions, ginger, garlic, carrots for about 5-7 minutes. Next, add your chicken to the center of the pan and all the remaining chicken marinade sauce. Cook covered about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the broccoli and any remaining vegetable ingredients (except cauliflower). Cook about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Lastly, stir in the cauliflower and cook about 3-5 minutes until it has combined and softened. This is where I add the soy sauce, to taste.

Serve with fresh basil as garnish if you like!
cauliflower fried rice

Traditional fried rice is at least 1000 calories, or more! This recipe is a fraction of the calories per serving and is loaded with healthy vegetables!

Christmas Casserole

I hosted Sunday family dinner at my house last week and was trying to think of something festive, yet healthy to cook. This recipe is also gluten free, soy free, and uses only a small amount of grain.

I found this idea on Pinterest, and will link back to it if I can find it again.

It actually is much healthier than it looks! The recipe is loaded with 5 bell peppers. It’s a good way to sneak veggies into a recipe! There is still a lot of cheese in here… But, this recipe makes enough for 8 people. We also served it with a side salad.

Christmas casserole

Christmas Casserole

Serves 8 people
Allow 1 hour for prep/cooking


For the chicken:

  • 4 chicken breasts (or about 1 lb. chicken)
  • 2 cans Rotel
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. coriander, ground
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • salt and pepper

For the rest of the casserole filling:

  • 12 soft corn tortillas (I buy the all natural with the only ingredient being listed as corn, water, lime)
  • 1 can “re-fried” black beans or similar (I buy the Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 3 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp. cumin, ground
  • 2 tsp. coriander, ground
  • 2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2, 6-8 oz. blocks of cheese (I buy one sharp cheddar for the filling, and one mozzarella or jack cheese for the top of the casserole), shredded

For the Christmas tree pepper design:

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper


  1. In the crockpot, start the chicken ahead of time. This makes prep for this casserole much easier and a time saver! Put the chicken with seasonings and onion and Rotel all in the Crockpot on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 4 hours. Shred the chicken with two forks when it has finished cooking. Keep on low until you are ready to prepare the casserole.
  2. christmas tree casserolePreheat the oven to 375 F. You will need a baking dish that is larger or deeper than 9×13 (maybe 12×18).
  3. Saute your peppers and onions and garlic with the seasonings in a saute pan for about 10 minutes until softened.
  4. Layer one layer of soft corn tortillas (6) in the bottom of the baking dish. Top with half of the re-fried black beans. Then, add the shredded chicken and sauteed peppers. Top this layer with half of your shredded cheese.
  5. Create one more layer again starting with 6 soft corn tortillas and repeat. Top with the white shredded cheese. Get ready to make your tree design for the top!
  6. Chop the red and yellow bell peppers, but save enough to cut a star shape out of the yellow pepper, and a “tree stump” out of the red pepper.
  7. Slice the green bell pepper length-wise so you have longer strips that will be layers of the tree.
  8. Bake for about 40-45 minutes.

We managed to all squeeze in around my little table!

healthy Christmas casserole