Healthy Maple Glazed Pecans

So many sweet friends have brought over the most delicious Georgia pecans this week! I was inspired to try a few new pecan recipes. I found this amazing healthier recipe for maple glazed pecans! It is a MUST try!!! Pecans are packed with protein and a healthy fat if eaten in small portions! Maple Syrup is not something you should be guzzling down, but it is an excellent source of manganese and a good source of zinc (which are both important for a strong immune system!).

maple glazed pecans

These holiday nuts are ridiculously easy to make but taste unbelievable! I have packaged them as teacher gifts and chopped them on a spinach salad with pear and blue cheese! Enjoy!

Maple Glazed Pecans makes 6 1/3 cup servings

2 ½ cups of pecans

1/3 cup maple syrup 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Combine syrup, cinnamon and sea salt and stir until well mixed. Preheat a dry skillet to medium-high. Add pecans and syrup mixture and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the syrup is caramelized. You’ll know they’re done when they start sticking to the spoon! Spread them on a greased tray to cool.

 Go the extra mile this holiday season! The health of your body, mind, & spirit will be thankful you did! Blessings, Caroline

Quinoa - The Super Grain!

One of my favorite grains that I get a lot of questions about: QUINOA! Here are some of my favorite recipes and amazing facts about this super grain... 

Photo courtesy of


Over 5000 years ago, the Incas cultivated the grain-like seed quinoa as one of their staple crops. Since then, science has shown that this humble "grain" is actually a super food! Quinoa is full of phytonutrients, antioxidants, and can even help balance your blood sugar. As a result, people everywhere are discovering the benefits of quinoa - a delicious whole "grain" that is easy to digest, full of high quality protein and fiber, and can form the basis for delicious Body Ecology meals.


Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is not a grain; it is actually a seed and related to the spinach family. When cooked, quinoa is light, fluffy, slightly crunchy, and subtly flavored. It actually cooks and tastes like a grain, making it an excellent replacement for grains that are difficult to digest.

However, its flavor is only part of why quinoa is such an amazing "super grain." Some of the nutrients in quinoa include:

  • Complete protein. Quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids that are required by the body as building blocks for muscles.
  • Magnesium. This helps relax your muscles and blood vessels and effects blood pressure. Quinoa contains high levels of this vital nutrient.
  • Fiber. Quinoa is a wonderful way to ensure that you consume valuable fiber that eases elimination and tones your colon.
  • Manganese and copper. Quinoa is a good source of these minerals that act as antioxidants in your body to get rid of dangerous cancer and disease-causing substances.

Compared to other grains, quinoa is higher in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc than wheat, barley, or corn. Studies have shown that quinoa has documented health benefits too!

Quinoa, in its whole grain form, may be effective in preventing and treating these conditions:

  • Artherosclerosis
  • Breast cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Insulin resistance

Researchers attribute the health benefits of quinoa to its complete nutritional makeup. Quinoa is close to one of the most complete foods in nature because it contains amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.


1. Breakfast Quinoa (from The Feed Zone Cookbook)


  • 2 cups low-fat milk (or almond milk), plus more for serving
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons light-brown sugar (or honey), plus more for serving
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup (1/2 pint) fresh blueberries, plus more for serving


  • Bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, until three-quarters of the milk has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.
  • Stir in sugar and cinnamon. Cook, covered, until almost all the milk has been absorbed, about 8 minutes. Stir in blueberries, and cook for 30 seconds. Serve with additional milk, sugar, cinnamon, and blueberries

2. "Dinner Bells" Recipe (from Family Fun Magazine)


  • 5 medium red or orange bell peppers
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 jar (25 oz.) marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup water


  • Cut off tops of peppers. Clean out completely and discard seeds. Place peppers upright in a 4-6 quart crock pot.
  • Combine turkey, onion, Italian seasoning, garlic and salt. Stir in rice (or Quinoa). Spoon into peppers.
  • Pour most of the marinara sauce over peppers. Add water to remaining sauce in jar. Cover jar and shake. Pour over peppers.
  • Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 hours.
  • Transfer peppers to serving plates. Spoon sauce over top. Let stand for 5 minutes


White Chicken Chili


  • 1 32-ounce box chicken stock(organic)
  • 3 cans white beans, left undrained  (use all different types to add variety)
  • 5 cups cooked chicken (rotisserie or boiled)
  • 1 16-ounce jar salsa(use fresh salsa-- this the key)
  • 1 8-ounce block pepper jack cheese, grated
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Black or white pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed corn chips (optional, if you like your chili thicker)
  • Sour cream, for garnish

Yields: 6 servings


Place all ingredients except the corn chips in a crockpot. Cook on high until the cheese is melted.

Chili may also be cooked on the stovetop over medium-high heat until cheese is melted.

When the chili is ready, add the crushed corn chips, if using, and simmer for 10 minutes to thicken. Garnish with more chips, cheese and/or sour cream and serve.

Peanut Butter Banana Oat Breakfast Cookies with Carob/Chocolate Chips


Prep Time 15 Minutes
Cook Time 30 Minutes
Servings 16 Difficulty Easy


  • 2 whole Ripe Bananas, Mashed Until Creamy
  • ⅓ cups Peanut Butter, Creamy Or Chunky
  • ⅔ cups Unsweetened Applesauce
  • ¼ cups Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon Butter Extract, Optional
  • 1-½ cup Quick Oatmeal, Uncooked
  • ¼ cups Chopped Peanuts
  • ¼ cups Carob Chips Or Chocolate Chips, Optional

Preparation Instructions

Preheat heat oven to 350ºF.

In a large bowl, mix mashed banana and peanut butter until completely combined. Then add in the applesauce, vanilla protein powder and vanilla and butter extracts. Mix again until completely combined.

Add in the oatmeal and nuts to the banana mixture and combine. (Add the optional carob/chocolate chips at this time if you want them mixed throughout.)

Let dough rest for 10 minutes.

Drop cookie dough, by spoonfuls, onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and flatten cookies into circles, about a 1/3″ thick. (If you want the optional carob/chocolate chips on the top of the cookies, push them into the cookies now.)

Bake cookies approximately 30 minutes, or until golden brown and done. Remove from oven and let rest on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then move to cooling rack. (If you want the traditional fork tine marks on the cookies, use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to score the tops of the cookies while they’re still warm.)

When cookies are completely cool, store in a covered container. Enjoy!

Find this recipe as well as many other yummy ones here!

Farro with Feta Cucumbers & Sundried Tomatoes


This salad combines farro with Mediterranean ingredients such as cucumbers, lemon juice, feta and mint for a delicious salad you can enjoy as a side dish, or even for lunch! This would be perfect to bring to a potluck or BBQ this Memorial Day weekend!

I'm in love with farro these days and I have been having so much fun cooking with it lately. Farro is an ancient Italian grain that has been rediscovered and is becoming quite popular in the US and throughout Europe. It's a great source of fiber, protein and iron, with a nutty flavor and chewy texture. It's wonderful in salads, side dishes and even soups. The pearled variety is as easy to cook as boiling pasta, takes only about 15-20 minutes.

Here in New York I can easily find farro in any natural foods market but I realize some of you may not be as lucky, so if you can't find farro where you live you could use barley, quinoa, whole wheat couscous or even whole grain elbow macaroni in it's place. If farro is available near you, I highly encourage you to try it!!

Farro with Feta, Cucumbers and Sun-dried Tomatoes

4 • Serving Size: 1 cup • Old Points: 3 pts • Points+: 4 pts
241 • Fat: 6.5 g • Protein: 9.1 g • Carb: 39.1 g • Fiber: 5.8 g • Sugar: 1.9 g
177.3 mg (without salt)


  • 1 cup uncooked pearled farro
  • 2 tbsp minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup minced sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated feta
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped cucumber, seeds removed
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped mint or parsley
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

    Cook farro in salted water according to package directions until al dente, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and let cool.

Find this recipe and many delicious others at Gina's Skinny Recipes!

Some of My Favorite Smoothies!

 Blueberry almond smoothie – HIGH IN PROTIEN

This is great for breakfast or mini-meal, especially on the run!

1 C blueberries 2/3 C plain nonfat yogurt (OR GREEK) 1/2 serving protein powder (I like SF whey) 1/4 cup nonfat milk 1 T slivered almonds 2 t ground flax seeds 1 t almond (OR VANILLA) extract

Green Machine.  Here’s the recipe, which yields about 12 ounces:

  • 1 granny smith apple (preferably organic), cut into big pieces or one pear
  • 2 cups of kale (pull leaves from two stalks to make two cups) or 2 cups spinach
  • 1 lime (juiced or remove the seeds and add the flesh, too) or one lemon
  • 1 small handful of cilantro (pull the leaves from the stalks)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons ginger (mine came from a jar but you can grate fresh ginger instead)
  • ½ cup yogurt

The citrus, cilantro and ginger give the smoothie a refreshing zing. I’ve been using my food processor to blend the ingredients, but I’m going to give my blender another shot. I want to blend in some ice and maybe a frozen banana.

Based on rough calculations, the smoothie comes in at about 200 calories, with 11 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, over 700% of the Vitamin A and 260% of the Vitamin C you need for a day, and a long list of other vitamins.

All Around Good Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
  • 1/2 frozen banana, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons powdered protein supplement
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flax seed
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries

Favorite Smoothie for 2012

Super Green Smoothie:

1 cup almond milk

1 cup strawberries or blueberries

1 cup spinach (surprise!! it blend beautifully)

1 frozen banana

1 tsp ground flax seed

1 scoop protein powder

*(may need a dash of honey)- your preference

 ***Always add crushed ice (about 1 cup) to all your smoothies!!!!