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

nutritionist AtlantaNOW AVAILABLE: Mobile Nutrition Counseling via your phone!

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

Easy Caramel Pecans

Your typical caramel or sugary nuts have massive amounts of refined sugar and butter. I have tweaked the recipe slightly so that it is about half the sugar, and uses more natural ingredients. This recipe also happens to be super easy! It is perfect for the holidays and gift giving! I know my coworkers have loved them :-)

easy caramel pecans

Easy Caramel Pecans (And Healthier!)

Makes 1 small gift-giving batch


  • 1 1/2 cups plain, raw pecans (I just eye-ball it)
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp. stevia
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. raw honey
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (optional)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
  • generous pinch of salt


  1. In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil over medium heat, then add all of the ingredients except the honey and pecans. Stir and heat about 1 minute.
  2. Add the honey, and the mixture will begin to bubble. Cook and stir 1 minute.
  3. Add the pecans, and stir frequently. Continue to cook, stir, and coat them for 5 minutes until you have noticed the mixture has darkened.
  4. Pour the pecans out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Keep in clumps, and flatten-out with the back of your spoon. They should be a nice even layer so they stick together and cool.

Note: Make sure to stir continuously or the pecans and sugar will burn.

Cool at room temperature about 1-2 hours. You can then break into large chunks, and put into a nice decorative mason jar or festive holiday box!

Did I mention: This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, soy free, and egg free. Great for those on special diets or those who are sensitive.

Perfectly Sauteed Brussel Sprouts

Sauteed Brussel sprouts is a staple dinner food item in my house. Maybe you think I’m crazy, but no, they are delicious! And this particular recipe does not involve bacon. (But, I will use bacon from time to time!)

I even got my Mom (Psycho Holiday Baker) to try more than one bite (she typically hates Brussel sprouts).

sauteed brussel sprouts

Sauteed Brussel Sprouts


  • 3 cups fresh Brussel sprouts, cut in half (you can use frozen in a pinch)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large sweet yellow onion or red onion, sliced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. mustard seed (or 1-2 tsp. jar mustard)
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp. honey (taste to see if you need this–sometimes my onions are sweet enough and I do not add)
  • salt and pepper


  1. Saute your onions on medium heat for about 10 minutes until they soften.
  2. Add the garlic and sprouts to the pan along with other seasonings, and cook 10-15 minutes more on medium. Stir every other minute.
  3. Taste test, and see if you need a little honey to sweeten. Continue to cook until the sprouts have browned and you have some brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

Easy and super healthy!

Another seasoning flavor idea that I use is cajun seasoning mix instead of the mustard and spices. You could also cook/roast these in the oven as well.


Apple Chutney

Believe it or not I got this recipe from Barefoot Contessa! How bad can that be?

Yes, she is known for making some sinfully delicious recipes, but her apple chutney recipe that she uses to put on top of a pork recipe was deliciously festive for fall. I had to share it with you. Click HERE for the original, full recipe.

I modified the recipe slightly.

You could make this and keep it for the week to put on top of pork tenderloin, chicken, or oatmeal in the morning.

apple compote

Apple Chutney Recipe


  • 1/2 medium/large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2-2 1/2 tablespoons minced or grated fresh ginger
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (4 oranges) or 100% juice
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4-1/3 cup water (as needed)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2-4 Tbsp. honey
  • 1-2 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 11/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and ½-inch-diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)

Directions:apple chutney

  1. Chop up your onion, and add to medium saucepan and saute with olive oil on medium-low heat.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the ginger and prepare the apples.
  3. Add the ginger, mustard seeds (whole), red pepper flakes, and salt to the saucepan and stir to combine. Heat about 3 minutes.
  4. You can add the apples to the saucepan as you dice them for convenience.
  5. Add the sugar and honey to the saucepan, then the liquid ingredients (apple cider vinegar and juice). I also added a splash of water because you may need more liquid.
  6. Heat all of the ingredients on a simmer for about 45 minutes-1 hour.

This recipe makes the house smell so good from the ginger and citrus. If you are going to use this for an oatmeal topping, I could see a pinch of cinnamon being a tasty addition.

pork with apple chutney

Or, use as a meat topping!

Atlanta Nutritionist

Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ever since I had stuffed acorn squash at Sunflower Cafe in Atlanta, I had been wanting to re-create it at home. The original version I had was stuffed with garlicky kale, beans, walnuts, rice, and cranberries. I switched it up and created a squash stuffing with what I had already at home.

Did you know: Acorn squash is an excellent source of vitamin C!

turkey stuffed acorn squash

Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash


  • 2 medium acorn squash, cut in half and seeds scooped out
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 12 oz. fresh spinach or frozen spinach if you do not have fresh (or you could use any leafy green)
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberrieshow to cook acorn squash
  • butter for topping


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. First, you will have to prepare the squash. Slice them in half, scoop out the seeds, then I like to slice off the bottoms so that they sit flat in the baking dish.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over the squash and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake the squash for 45 minutes (up to 1 hour until the skin is soft enough that you would eat it).
  3. Meanwhile, cook your ground turkey in a saute pan with the seasonings and olive oil.
  4. Add the spinach to the turkey cooking, and wilt down, or cook into the turkey mixture for about 7 more minutes.
  5. Add the pecans and cranberries, and continue to cook on medium for 5 more minutes. Set aside.
  6. When the squash is done, fill it with the turkey filling and add any leftover filling to the sides of the baking dish. Top everything with pats of butter (or a butter substitute of your choice–I use a light whipped butter).
  7. Bake 10 more minutes, and remove from the oven.

stuffed acorn squash

Some wonder if you can eat the skin. Well, you can! As long as you cook it long enough so that it softens. I love the colors of the yellow, greens, and reds–it looks so festive for fall!

Zucchini Soup Made with Cashews

I have been loving using cashews as a “cream” instead of conventional cow’s milk cream. The cashew cream gives foods a decadent nutty flavor. Plus, it is approved on my LEAP diet.

I came up with this zucchini soup recipe that is made with cashews and is perfect for the cool weather ahead! And it is a pretty easy recipe!

It can be made vegan if you use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. This recipe is also gluten free if you use gluten free stock. Dairy free as well.

zucchini soup made with cashews

Zucchini Soup Made with Cashews


  • 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5-6 zucchini, chopped into chunks
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 1 Tbsp. oregano
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock of your choice
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • salt and pepper
  • Fresh rosemary or basil to garnish. Another garnish option: Swirl with a dollop of sour cream if you like.

Directions:how to cook zucchini soup

  1. In a large soup/stock pot, add your olive oil and heat on medium. Add your onions and salt and pepper and cook about 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile, chop your zucchini.
  2. Next, add your garlic, cashews, zucchini, and seasonings. Cook 5-7 more minutes.
  3. Add the vegetable stock and bring to simmer.
  4. Cook about 30 minutes. Then, with an immersion blender, puree the soup mixture. If you do not have an immersion blender, pour the soup into a blender and puree (but, be careful since the contents will be extremely hot!).
  5. Next, add the corn to the soup in the pot. It is OK if the corn is still frozen as it will thaw quickly. Cook 10 more minutes, and serve. Or, refrigerate for later.
  6. Garnish with rosemary or basil.


healthy zucchini soup

Atlanta Nutritionist