Lauren Kelly Nutritionist

Better Health, Better Food, Better You

Chickpea (Garbanzo Bean) Salad with Spinach

I love beans, all kinds of beans.  They are loaded with protein, fiber, nutrients and are extremely versatile.   Beans are low in fat and help to regulate blood sugar levels (great for diabetics).  We can’t forget how healthy beans are for your heart.  You know that old saying, “Beans, Beans they’re good for your heart”…well you know the rest 🙂

I love this recipe because it is simple.  It tastes wonderful alone or on the side next to some chicken or fish.   I love vegetarian dishes so I would eat this alone, maybe with a green salad.  It’s a perfect Meatless Monday dish!

Chickpea Salad with Spinach


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cups of fresh baby spinach
  • 1 (12 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained thoroughly
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon
  • 1/8 teaspoon curry
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth (or chicken broth)


  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the garlic and onion in the oil until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach, garbanzo beans, cumin, curry and salt.   Continue to stir for a few minutes.  Add broth and lemon juice and stir.  Allow to cook until thoroughly heated.

Nutritional Information

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount Per Serving (4 Weight Watcher Points Plus Points Per Serving)

Calories: 180

  • Total Fat: 5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 400mg
  • Total Carbs: 26g
  • Dietary Fiber: 9.4g
  • Protein: 10.3g

* Nutritional information provided by, not 100% guaranteed accurate


Please give a warm welcome to Maura Knowles who is our Guest Recipe Blogger today!

Maura is the face behind Mac-n-Mo’s Magical Morsels.    Maura created  tasty-healthy morsels for her Dad (Mac), who is diabetic and a heart patient.   Maura Knowles, AKA Mo The Morselist is a Health Coach/baker/recipe developer/writer, who shares easy vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, low sodium and sugar recipes, sassy stories, healthy living tips and FUN! All recipes are gluten free, low sodium and sugar using whole foods. Most recipes are also dairy-free, corn-free, soy-free and egg-free. Please join the Morselist, eat your morsels and live MORSELICIOUSLY!


I made this MORSELICIOUS vegan, gluten-free, low sodium, low sugar VEGGIE pizza

and I mean ALL veggies!

Doug and I devoured the entire dish! So, I may need to say serving size 2!

However, it would probably serve 3-4 if you served with a big green salad.

Mo’s parsley pumpkin (seed) pesto pizza with a cauliflower crust

Cauliflower Crust (note, you can also use broccoli)

2 cups of mashed or pulsed cauliflower (if you blend, make sure it doesn’t turn to pulp)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil/coconut/hemp(you can add more if you want a moister consistency)

1/4 cup Morselicous Mix

mix well and flatten into pie plate or baking dish.

Isn’t this carrot dish ADORABLE? Thank you, Lee! :)

Now for the toppings:

FIRST the parsley, pumpkin seed pesto:

soak 1.5 cups of pumpkin seeds in water for a couple of hours,

rinse and blend with 1/3 cup water into a creamy consistency.

Add 1.5 cup parsley,

1 clove garlic,

4 chopped green onions,

pepper to taste,

juice of 1 lemon,

2 tbsp oil of choice (I used olive)

Blend well into a pesto and store in glass jar.

Spread a generous amont of pesto around the cauliflower crust and top with


I used 3/4 cup mushrooms

3/4 cup zucchini ribbons*

3 tbsp. hemp seeds,

6 chopped sun dried tomatoes (which I soaked in hot water)

and 3/4 cup vegan cheese (feel free to add more)

Bake at 325 for 35-40 minutes, until cheese bubbles..

Note: this will not be easy to pick up with your hands like GLUTEN pizza, so carefully

serve and eat with a fork. Serve with a nice green salad.

To make zucchini ribbons, use a vegetable peeler and voila- pretty ribbons!

Thank you SO much Maura for this amazing recipe!  Please go visit Maura on Facebook and go follow her blog here!   🙂

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Applesauce Carrot Spice Muffins (and Bread)

I love Carrot cake and any type of spice bread.  Maybe because I am borderline obsessed with cinnamon?  Funny, I think my kids inherited that from me.  I guess it could be worse…

So I found this recipe from and I wanted to lighten it up a little and make it a little healthier.  I added flax seed because it’s packed with omega- 3 essential fatty acids (“good” fats that protect heart health), fiber and antioxidants.  The greek yogurt adds protein and this recipe has no processed sugars!  Oh, and there are even veggies in there (carrots :))


Dry ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups  whole wheat flour (or a mixture of whole wheat and unbleached flours)
  • 1/4 cup sucanat (least processed sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup plain 0 % greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded carrots (about 3)
  • 1/4 cup raisins (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray or use muffin liners.
  2. Mix together all dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the liquid ingredients. Add the liquid to the dry and mix just long enough to combine. Add the carrots and raisins and stir to combine.
  3. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups.  Mixture will be very thick. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
**I made 24 mini muffins and 1 mini loaf of bread, recipe makes 24 mini muffins and 1 mini loaf or 12 large muffins.
1 large (or 2 mini muffins) contain:
132 Calories
 1 g Total Fat; (4% calories from fat)
 3 g Protein
30 g Carbohydrates
0 mg Cholesterol
244 mg Sodium
3 g Fiber
*Nutritional information provided by, not 100% guaranteed accurate

Why is fiber important to us? Oh and…**Drumroll PLEASE……And the winner for the Gnu Foods Bars Giveaway is….**

Susan Tang!

Susan, you are the lucky winner of the Gnu Foods Bars Giveaway!!


Fact:  Did you know that most Americans only get about 15 grams of fiber a day???

Now I wanted to share a few important reasons why fiber is so important.

  • Fiber helps keep you full and satisfied
  • Fiber helps reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers
  • Fiber aids in weight control
  • Fiber helps control blood sugar levels
  • Fiber helps keep you regular
  • Fiber helps decrease cholesterol levels

*Women should aim for 25-35 grams of fiber each day and men should get 35-40 grams each day.

What is the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber?

  • Soluble fiber dissolves in water.  Soluble fiber delays the emptying of your stomach and helps keep you full.  It is the soluble fibers that have shown to lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  • Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water.   They help add bulk to your diet and help to prevent constipation.

Other than Gnu Foods Bars, some other great sources of fiber are:

  • Fruits and Vegetables (not juices)
  • Whole Grain Foods
  • Nuts and seeds (sunflower, chia and fax especially)
  • Beans and legumes

*Very important…make sure you increase your water intake along with your fiber!  It will help control any bloating you might get from the extra fiber 🙂

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Quinoa “Mac” and Cheese with Spinach in Broiled Tomato Bowls


So here we are, another Meatless Monday.  How many of you have been inspired to eat meatless meals one day of the week (if you haven’t already)? You should be creative when eating vegetarian.  There are so many possibilities, why not explore them all?

Most of you know how much I LOVE quinoa (pronounced KEEN-WAH). Quinoa is actually a seed, but is very much like a grain.  Unlike grains, quinoa is a complete protein (it contains all nine essential amino acids) and is also packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  It really is a SUPER food!

My kids love mac and cheese (I do too 🙂 ) Why not try Quinoa “Mac” and Cheese and put them in Tomato bowls???

Quinoa “Mac” and Cheese with Spinach in Broiled Tomato Bowls

adapted from allrecipes


  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 2 tablespoons pignoli nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 juice of fresh lemon
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese of your choice, I used parmesan and asiago blend
  • 4 organic beef steak tomatoes, top 1 inch sliced off, pulp and seeds scooped out


  1. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the quinoa, and cook until the quinoa is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain in a mesh strainer, and rinse until cold; set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, stir in pignoli nuts, and cook until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic, and cook until the garlic softens , about 2 minutes. Stir in the quinoa and spinach; cook and stir until the quinoa is hot, and the spinach has wilted. Stir in the lemon juice, and  the cheese.       
  3. Meanwhile place tomatoes in a baking dish and place sliced top back on top of the tomato.  Place in broiler for 5 minutes until softens slightly but still remains intact.
  4. Take tomatoes out and place the quinoa mixture inside the tomato, like a bowl.  The juices of the tomato combine with the quinoa mixture and taste delicious! ENJOY!! 

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 tomato bowl with quinoa blend
Amount Per Serving
Calories 155    Calories from Fat 81  (4 WW Points per serving)
Total Fat 9.0g
Saturated Fat 1.6g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 5mg
Sodium 82mg
Total Carbohydrates 14.8g
Dietary Fiber 2.1g
Sugars 4.2g
Protein 5.3g

*Nutrition information provided by, not 100% guaranteed accurate

Don’t forget the Gnu Foods Bar Giveaway ends TONIGHT!!  Enter now 🙂

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***Three – Five Day Jump Start to Weight Loss with Clean Eating***

So the weather is getting nicer and the clothes are getting smaller (YIKES!)

I get asked all the time about cleanses and detoxes these days.  It seems like most people are looking for the latest “quick fix”.  I get it.  People want results. NOW!  In order to live healthy and maintain a healthy weight, you need to do one thing…CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE!!!

Personally, I don’t believe in restricting certain food groups or severely cutting back on calories to lose weight.  If only it could be a s easy as “Eat when you are hungry” and “Stop when you are full”, everyone out there would be happy with their bodies!!

So instead of drinking cleanses and taking “detox” pills, why not  eat only clean, unprocessed foods and no added sugar for 3-5 days to give yourself a JUMP START?

Here’s what you need to do:

  • start each morning with hot water and 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon (must be on empty stomach to flush out toxins)
  • no coffee , just green tea (aim for 3-5 cups)
  • 1 gallon of water a day which you can add lemon, mint or ginger to
  • no dairy (except plain greek yogurt)
  • no bread/pasta/rice… only quiona or rolled/steel cut oats
  • opt for 2-3 “juices*” a day if you want to juice, otherwise load up on fresh raw veggies.  no more than 2-3 fruits each day * juices are only homemade with fresh veggies and fruit
  • no sugar at all (besides the fruit)
  • no carbonated beverages at all (obviously no soda but also no seltzer)
  • if you want to do vegetarian, load up on raw or steamed beans (mix with raw veggies and lime juice)
  • if you aren’t doing vegetarian, choose only lean white meats and fish and either steam, grill or bake  (Herbs, garlic, lemon, lime (even fresh orange) are great to season)
  • hard boiled eggs are great, only 1 whole egg per day, egg whites are unlimited
  • All nuts are great.  Make sure they are raw and unsalted.  Also, no more than 14 nuts per serving, 2 servings a day.
  • Lastly, make sure you get between 7-8 hours of sleep each night.  Now, I know those who have kids, sometimes kids don’t get the memo.  Try your best by going to bed early each night!

Besides flushing out your system with all the water, you are only eating unprocessed foods, which you will feel lighter and should give you more energy.  This is a great way to focus on whole foods and add tons of vitamins and nutrients to your diet.

After the 3-5 days try to eat as many unprocessed foods as you can throughout the day.  Prepare for the week ahead by stocking your refrigerator with fresh fruits and veggies and lean proteins.  Comment on this blog post or my facebook page if you want to join me starting this coming Monday. GOOD LUCK!!  Happy CLEAN Eating! 🙂


Lightened up Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars (this is NO JOKE!)

So, the weather is getting warmer…. and maybe you are trying to eat healthier?  Or you’d like to lose a few pounds?  I bet you think you can never touch a treat or dessert again?  NOT TRUE!!  Chocolate peanut butter bars are a HUGE weakness for me.  It took me a while, but I was finally able to lighten them up without sacrificing the flavor.  They came out AMAZING!!!  I used natural peanut butter, good dark chocolate (71% cocoa), severely decreased the butter and replaced confectioner sugar with powdered sucanat.

What the heck is sucanat???? Sucanat is whole cane sugar that is the least processed.  It is simply dehydrated sugar cane juice.  It is the healthiest alternative for all of the processed sugars out there.

Now remember, these are NOT calorie free by any means.  But they do have less calories and fat than the original recipe and the ingredients are all clean (except the graham cracker crumbs).  Go ahead, have one and ENJOY IT! 🙂

adapted from Allrecipes


  • 2  cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup peanut natural peanut butter
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips ( I used 71% cocoa)
  • 1 1/2  cups sucanat


  1. Pour sucanat into blender (I used my Vitamix) and place on high speed for 10-15 seconds to create a “powdered” sugar.  (Yes, it really is THAT easy!)
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, powdered sucanat, peanut butter and melted butter. Press firmly into the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan. Melt chocolate chips over a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring occasionally. Spread melted chocolate over the crumb crust. Chill for about 5 minutes, then cut into bars before the chocolate is completely set, then chill until ready to serve.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 bar (makes 24 bars but you can also cut them into bite size bars which would be less calories)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 171 Calories from Fat 89
Total Fat 9.9g
Saturated Fat 3.5g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 5mg
Sodium 332mg
Total Carbohydrates 18.0g
Dietary Fiber 1.1g
Sugars 10.9g
Protein 4.3g

*Nutritional information not 100% accurate, provided by


So many of us do not get enough fiber. Are you looking to add fiber to your diet? ****GIVEAWAY!!!!****

Who needs fiber anyway? WE ALL DO!!  Dietary fiber not only keeps us regular and prevents constipation, but it crucial for maintaining heart health.  Fiber helps lower cholesterol and helps to eliminate toxins from your body (we could all use some of that!)  Lastly, increasing dietary fiber has been effective in weight loss as it helps to keep you full longer.

I am so thrilled to announce that Gnu Foods has offered  to send one lucky winner (U.S. residents only please) a box of 16 bars, 2 bars each of 8 different flavors!  I LOVE Gnu Foods bars and always recommend them to clients (and anyone else that asks 🙂 )  I like Gnu Foods bars because they only have 130 calories  and a whopping 12 grams of fiber per bar!!  They use honest, whole ingredients such as rolled oats, organic whole wheat flour, fruits and fruit juices and flax.  Wow almost 50% of your daily requirement for fiber in ONE BAR (and they taste great too!)

Haven’t tried Gnu bars yet?  HERE IS YOUR CHANCE! 🙂

Please follow all of these steps to enter:

  1. “Follow” my blog….there should be something on the bottom of this page asking for your email address so you can be updated with my blog posts.
  2. Comment on this blog.
  3. Go and “like” me on Facebook here if you haven’t already and please share this contest on your Facebook page.
  4. Go visit Gnu Foods Facebook page and tell them I sent you 🙂
Giveaway ends Tuesday April 24 at 12:00 a.m. EST


“flavor & fiber Together at last” ~ Gnu Foods


Another Meatless Monday? How about an Arugula Kumato Mushroom Pizza with Whole Wheat Crust?

I know before you read on, you are asking “What is a Kumato???”  Good question 🙂 For those who haven’t heard of a kumato, it is a “brown” tomato typically grown in Spain.  They look like they aren’t ripe yet, when in fact they are ripe and sweeter than a regular tomato (due to the higher sugar content).  They have thicker skins than regular tomatoes which allow them to have a longer shelf life too.  I got mine at Trader Joe’s….check them out…

Ok, so now that we all know what these yummy, sweet kumato tomatoes are….put them with spicy arugula and sliced portabella mushrooms and you get one heavenly pizza 🙂

Let’s start cooking…. Place in a pan with 1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil (or oil of your choice), saute’ until the veggies soften.

I take whole wheat pizza crust (from Trader Joe’s), roll it out onto a pan.  Place sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese on top.  Lastly, place all the veggies on top of the cheese and sauce.  Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.  YUMMY!!!  Enjoy this new twist on healthy pizza 🙂

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Please welcome our guest recipe blogger today….Sara from “My Imperfect Kitchen”!

I am thrilled that Sara has shared this delicious, healthy (and so pretty) recipe with us!!


About Sara 🙂

“I love sharing food with my friends and family. Just because the kitchen isn’t perfect, sometimes there are dishes in the sink and crumbs on the counter, doesn’t mean the food isn’t fantastic! I hope when you’re here you can enjoy the feeling of being at home. It’s a hot cup of coffee on a cold morning. It’s hanging out in a big T-shirt and your most comfortable pair of jeans, sitting around a table with friends, laughing, sharing recipes and solving the problems of the world over home-made muffins!” ~ from her blog, My Imperfect Kitchen.

I’ve heard you’re supposed eat the colors of the rainbow in fruits and vegetables. I found these amazing bell peppers at our local Farmers Market this week. The bag included red, orange, yellow and green peppers -seven of them- for just $1.25. How can you pass that up? Besides, they’re so pretty! Just like a rainbow!
I made our youngest son do a taste testing of the different peppers!  Don’t they look like candy?
He liked the red ones best! These were perfect for a quick, easy and good for you Frittata! Frittatas are so versatile! You can put any kind of fresh veggies into them. This time, I went with the colorful chopped bell peppers, green onions, mushrooms, spinach and feta cheese.
Combine that with a few scrambled eggs and VIOLA!  It’s dinner time!

Veggie Frittata (Serves 4)

6 eggs
1 cup diced red, yellow, orange and green peppers (or your favorite veggie combination)
3 stalks green onion, sliced
4 large mushrooms, diced
5 leaves fresh spinach, hand torn
3 TBLS Feta cheese, crumbled
Fresh cracked pepper
flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Spray a small skillet or small frittata pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Whisk the eggs and pepper together, then stir your veggies into the egg mix! Pour the whole thing into your pre-heated skillet. Over medium-low heat cook the eggs until they just begin to set, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally during the first 2 minutes of cooking.
If you are using a frittata pan, spray the top half of the pan before placing it on top of the deep side. Flip the pan and continue to cook covered for another 5 minutes or until the eggs are completely set. Loosen the frittata by shaking it gently and then sliding it onto your serving dish.
If you are using a regular skillet, cover the eggs with a dinner plate to continue cooking until the eggs are completely set, approx 5 minutes.  Monitor the heat carefully so the bottom doesn’t get too brown. Loosen the frittata by shaking the pan slightly and sliding it out onto your serving dish. You can also put your serving dish over the top of the skillet and flip it over onto the dish!
Let the frittata stand for a few minutes before you cut it.  Cut equally into four pieces. Sprinkle with Feta and garnish with the parsley!
A beautiful fresh and simple dinner!

Please go and “like” Sara on Facebook at My Imperfect Kitchen and go visit her blog here!

Thanks again for sharing this with us Sara 🙂

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