Grilled Pork Chops with Two Melon Salsa


We’ve been talking a lot about watermelons this summer! And as one of the most hydrating and tasty fruits, we’re happy to have one more reason to incorporate it into our summer dishes, just in time for your Fourth of July cookout!



1 cup chopped seedless watermelon

1 cup chopped honeydew melon

3 tablespoons sweet onion

1 tablespoon finely chopped jalepeno pepper

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/8 teaspoon salt


2 teaspoons canola oil

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut pork chops, trimmed

cooking spray



1. To prep salsa, combine the first 7 ingredients and set aside

2. To prep pork chops, heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Combine oil and next 4 ingredients (through black pepper) in a small bowl.  Rub oil mixture over both sides of pork chops. Coat pan with cookies spray. Add pork to pan, cook for 4 minutes on both sides or until desired degree of doneness.

3. Serve with salsa and enjoy!


The original post for this recipe can be found here.






The Art of Bliss Point

Beware of the bliss point during the spring holidays! The term “Bliss Point” made headlines earlier this year when author Michael Moss’ book, “Salt, Sugar, Fat” was published. Bliss point, a term often used by the soft-drink industry represents the food manufacturers’ use of sugar, salt, and fat to increase taste and ultimately, the cravings of consumers. It is a specific term coined to represent the “specific amount of crave” which is smack in the middle of the sensory intensity (level) {The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food by Michael Moss Feb 20 2013}

Remember when Oreos were all over the news last month? A study performed by Connecticut College found that eating Oreos stimulate the same sensation in the brains of lab mice as drugs do, suggesting that Oreos may possibly be as addictive as drugs. “Our research supports the theory that high-fat/high-sugar foods stimulate the brain in the same way that drugs do,” says Joseph Schroeder, the director of the Behavioral Neuroscience Program at Connecticut College. “It could explain why some people can’t resist these foods despite the fact that they know they are bad for them.” While the study is yet to be officially published and undergo the peer-review process, it is likely that the Oreos caused the mice to reach something like their bliss point. It is important to recognize that this does not mean the food itself is addictive (food addiction will be another blog topic in the next few weeks).  If foods are eaten in combination with other foods especially proteins, the sensory experience of the food would be different and therefore not at the optimal bliss point.


Keep in mind, the food manufacturers are trying to achieve bliss point so the consumers continually buy and eat their products. This is a marketing ploy.  The University of Indiana highlights the Bliss Point on their website, stating that the bliss point is the combination of just the right amount of sugar, salt, and fat. They report the food industry attempts to prepare all foods with at least 2 combinations of the earlier mentioned nutrients. . In fact, Moss says there are some foods on the market today that cause our bodies to feel hungry even as we’re eating them.

Take an example by Moss, from his article in the NY Times, just a half-cup serving of a popular marinara sauce brand has more than 2 teaspoons of sugar (that’s more than two Oreos worth of sugar). Moss states, however, that having too much of one sensation (i.e. sweetness, fat, or salt) can actually be off-putting to the consumer. It is a term called “sensory-specific satiety,” in which more distinctive flavors overwhelm the brain, therefore reducing the desire to eat more. Thus, not only do brands look for the perfect mixture of tastes, but they also measure them accordingly to ensure that they don’t reach the “sensory-specific satiety”.

Can you think about a certain food like a potato chip or even an Oreo that has hit upon your bliss point? I can remember eating Pringles and one was just never enough. Even now, when I eat Oreos, having one is extremely rare. Rather I try to have Oreos with my lunch, or with milk or immediately after eating dinner to so that I get full from the other foods and also to prevent a blood sugar roller coaster.

So what can we do, as consumers? As parents? We live in a busy world where too often convenience trumps nutrition. Despite having good intentions to eat locally sourced foods, time and lack of energy cause us to fall prey to packaged goods. It is truly a balancing act. Most important is that the consumer realizes this is happening and can make an educated decision regarding which brands to purchase, how often to eat packaged foods and to realize the body is not betraying you rather the big food companies may be!

Do you think food companies should be allowed to manufacture foods that achieve bliss point? Do you think overeating of these specific foods is the fault of the big food companies or the individual?

What food hits your bliss point? 


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Easter Egg Cookies

Easter is only 10 days a way!  Besides your traditional Easter egg hunt and dying of Easter eggs, what do you have planned?  Have you ever thought about starting a new tradition with your family in the kitchen?  Don’t just create Easter eggs with your family this Easter, establish the new custom of designing your own Easter egg cookies!  Let your imagine go wild with the unique designs and vibrant colors of spring.  Share your creations with us on Facebook or Twitter!


Photo Courtesy of Cooking Light
Photo Courtesy of Cooking Light



  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour (about 6 ½ ounces)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Food Coloring Optional



1. To prepare cookies, spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.

2. Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla and egg. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended.

3. Place dough between two sheets of plastic wrap. Roll dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Chill 1 hour.

4. Preheat oven to 375°F.

5. Cut dough with a 2 ¼ inch egg-shaped cutter. Place cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375°F for 8 minutes or until edges of cookies are browned. Cool cookies 1 minute on pan. Remove cookies from parchment; cool completely on a wire rack.

6. To prepare icing, combine powdered sugar, milk, and ¼ teaspoon vanilla; stir until smooth. Add food coloring, if desired. Stir well. Spread or pipe icing onto cookies.

The recipe and photo used in this post were courtesy of Cooking Light. To see the originally posted recipe please click here.

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Double-Chocolate Cupcakes

With Valentine’s Day in just a couple of days, we’re sure that spending time with your loved ones is on your mind.  Get your dose of love by baking these yummy cupcakes with your kids.  Try these delicious double chocolate cupcakes as a sweet snack!

Courtesy of Cooking Light


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼  cup butter, softened
  • ½  cup egg substitute
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½  cup buttermilk
  • 1 ¼  ounces dark (70 % cocoa) chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir with a whisk.

3. Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined (about 3 minutes).

4. Add egg substitute and vanilla, beating well. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to granulated sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

5. Fold in chocolate.

6. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups lined with muffin cup liners.

7. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

8. Remove from pan; cool completely on a wire rack.

9. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.

The recipe and photo used in this post were courtesy of Cooking Light. To see the originally posted recipe please click here.

10 Ways to Say I Love You


So Valentine’s Day is coming up. How are you thinking of showing your love? Do your children celebrate in school? I ask you to take some time to think, “Does your child equate Valentine’s Day with chocolate hearts?” or the message of “We show love with candy?” If your child associates holidays or even birthdays with food/candy, especially “treats,” now is the time to create a new healthy association.

So why I am saying this? Because when kids equate food with love, they may eventually look to food for love when they are lonely, feel empty, and/or feel sad. This situation can domino as an adult and even turn into emotional eating and binge eating. Ideally, we teach kids that food and feelings should not be merged, well not all of the time anyway. Rather, food is fuel for wellness, and feelings are feelings that are best managed with coping skills.

This holiday, show your love with hugs and kisses! Plan a special night for the whole family.

Give your child a card that lists all the reasons why you love them. Gift them a heart picture frame with a family picture. Can you share some chocolate? Well, of course you can! The idea is to teach your child how to express love and celebrate in meaningful and truly special ways. Ideally you want your child to equate love with family or something kind, but not just food.

Here are some ideas to create new Valentine’s Day traditions!

  1. Create construction paper flowers with your children: on each petal, you and your child can write what makes him/her special and unique.
  2. Practice kindness for the fourteen days leading up to Valentine’s Day. Remember that actions speak louder than words.
  3. Frame and gift a picture of the family doing something together that everyone loves.
  4. Plan a family outing on Valentine’s Day to go ice skating or bowling in honor of celebrating your love and the love of life.
  5. Hang a chalkboard in your kitchen with all the ways that your family can express love.
  6. Think of what makes you feel good inside and incorporate that into your family.
  7. Ask teachers at school to have parents come in to read books about love and kindness rather than giving bags of chocolate
  8. Send cards to family and friends listing all the fun times you have shared.
  9. Turn off you iPhones, screens, and mind! Just devote the night to your child/children. Play games, read, and just be together.
  10.  __________________________________________________________________

You can fill in the rest. Let us know what #10 is for you.

The above may not be for everyone, but it is definitely one of the many things I want to do for my kids and clients, with the hope that they never have to experience disordered eating and/or an eating disorder.

Crockpot Chicken and Chickpea Tagine

Are you hosting a New Years Eve party this year? If you are, we have a deliciously easy recipe for you to serve! This recipe is from our friends at Cooking Light and uses a slow cooker. That’s right, all this recipe needs is a bit of prep work, and a few hours of cooking to become a tasty main entree for NYE! While this recipe serves 8, you can adjust accordingly to fit your needs.

Photo Courtesy of Cooking Light


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 8 (5-ounce) bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 2/3 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • Lemon wedges



1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle meaty side of chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Add chicken to pan, meaty side down; cook 5 minutes or until well browned. Remove from pan (do not brown other side).

2. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 4 minutes. Add cumin and next 5 ingredients (through red pepper); cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, stock, honey, and cinnamon, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; bring to a simmer. Carefully pour mixture into a 6-quart electric slow cooker. Stir in apricots and chickpeas. Arrange chicken, browned side up, on top of chickpea mixture. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 hours. Discard cinnamon stick. Sprinkle with cilantro; serve with lemon wedges.


The recipe and photo featured in this post were provided by Cooking Light. To read the original recipe please click here.

The Way We Gingerbread…

Can cookies, gingerbread homes and baking be a part of a healthy holiday season? Yes, they sure can. Do the cookies and candies need to be low fat or just a healthier version? No way!!! Read on to learn how to turn cookies and candy into just another food in the pantry.

One of my family’s favorite holiday traditions is to make Gingerbread Houses! There are some places around NYC that supply endless amounts of candy and a pre-constructed, edible gingerbread houses for families to visit and decorate houses. This can produce a complete sugar meltdown or become the ideal opportunity to let children explore how food makes them feel.

When baking or making holiday yummies with the kids, it’s most important to make sure they are well fed and not hungry before they reach for the candy bags. So, first thing, I feed my boys lunch. I was actually quite surprised at how very little they picked on the candy while decorating their homes. When they did want to eat a piece, they looked to me…to get a nod of approval. And I nodded yes…each and every time. Of course they could eat the candy. It was part of the fun. In the back of my mind, however, I hoped that it wasn’t the only fun for them.

Amazingly, when we got home, they didn’t want to eat the homes they’d created. Rather, they were so proud of their “masterpieces” that they quickly put them on display. My oldest son Bobby’s home still sits on our console as a holiday decoration. Unfortunately, I must also admit that my youngest son Billy’s gingerbread home had to be displayed on a much higher level. Because he still has a hard time understanding that this food is low in nutrition. One day he’ll understand that if he eats just this, not only will he stay up way past his bedtime, but he also won’t be hungry enough to eat a food that his body really needs.

When Billy asks for his house, I ask myself: Did he eat something denser in nutrition yet? I ask him if he ate his meal yet? I more often than not take it down from the higher shelf for him. My hope is that he realizes he can have the candy…just not at every whim. He can have it some of the time, because it is a “sometimes food.”

Just today, Billy asked for his gingerbread house because his brother Bobby was having a candy or two from his house; two weeks later, Bobby’s house still displays most of the candy. I asked Billy if he’d eaten lunch yet and he said yes. But then he walked away and went off to the kitchen to eat a yogurt. He didn’t ask me for the candy house again; he just ate his yogurt and went to play with his Legos.

So I think he is getting the message about “sometimes foods.” He knows he can have them some of the time but is less able to manage this concept without parental guidance because he is so young. My oldest son has mastered this thought and impresses me every day with his ability to leave food on his plate. Bobby even leaves cookies in his lunch box to save for another day, or the afternoon, when he knows he will really enjoy them.

As parents, think about teaching your children internal self regulation. Rather than restricting your children and sending messages that junk food equals bad food, help educate them on the need for eating nutritious food the majority of the time and eating less nutritious food just some of the time.

 Tips for making some foods “sometimes foods”:

  1. Explain what nutritious food is. For instance, it may be high in vitamins, minerals and nutrients to help kids grow or help their hearts to be strong.
  2. Explain what “sometimes food” is. Educate your children that certain foods are not necessary for growth but still can help by providing some energy. Let your children know that certain foods are lower in vitamins and minerals and should only be eaten some of the time…and only if your children regularly eat enough of the foods that help them grow, feel energized and prevent them from getting sick. These foods taste yummy but will not be so yummy if eaten all of the time.
  3. Let your children have a “sometimes food” with lunch three days a week so the food becomes neutral; you’ll be teaching moderation.
  4. Don’t make a big deal about “sometimes foods.”
  5. Allow your children to eat all foods so they don’t hide or sneak food.
  6. Role model eating all foods in front of your children.
  7. Limit the amount of “sometimes foods” in your house to about three per week so your children aren’t forced to make too many decisions about these foods.


For more information on “sometimes foods,” please refer to the Healthy Habits workbook at


Walnut-Stuffed Apples

With the start of Winter fast approaching, we’ve been searching for few more Fall recipes to savor. We recently saw this wonderful recipe on Cooking Light for Walnut-Stuffed Apples and we had to share!

Photo Courtesy of Cooking Light


  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons dried currants
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 4 medium Granny Smith apples, cored
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup apple cider



Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl; add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, stirring to combine. Peel top third of each apple; place apples in an electric slow cooker. Spoon walnut mixture into cavity of each apple.

Combine the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 cup brown sugar, and apple cider in a small bowl, stirring to combine. Pour over apples. Cover with lid; cook on LOW 2 3/4 hours. Remove the apples with a slotted spoon. Spoon 1/4 cup cooking liquid over each serving.


The recipe and photo featured in this post were provided by Cooking Light. To read the original recipe please click here.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe

With the holidays just around the corner, we wanted to share one of Laura’s recipes. These make a great addition to a holiday party or cookie exchange. What is your favorite holiday cookie recipe? Share with us in the comments below!

Photo Credit: jypsygen via Compfight cc

Recipe by Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE,CEDRD, CDN
Originally  published in Everyday Health



  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup honey or agave nectar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup toasted chopped walnuts
  • 1½ cups wheat germ
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ¾ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • ½ cup powdered fat-free milk


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Line 2 large baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the canola oil, honey, eggs, vanilla extract, raisins, chopped walnuts, wheat germ, and rolled oats.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and powdered milk.
  • Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ones until well-combined.
  • Scoop out spoonfuls of the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Cookies will not spread much, so you don’t need to leave a lot of room between them.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until dry around the edges.
  • Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Staying Healthy During the Holidays

The holiday season has officially started! Here’s a Mom’s guide to making it through the holidays:

Photo Credit: kevin dooley via Compfight cc

Staying Healthy During the Holidays
By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD, CDN

  1. Be the Tupperware Lady– bring Tupperware to family events to pack leftovers or “seconds” and  bring home to eat another time.
    • Rather than overeat on delicious food, plan to use hunger fullness cues. Pack the remainders up for a mini holiday dinner part II.
  2. Healthy Cook Book Exchange (rather than cookie exchange)
    • Holidays typically revolve around gifts and food, so why not give a gift about being healthy and moderate? Healthy cookbook ideas are the Mayo Clinic Williams – Sonoma Cookbook and Martha Stewart’s Healthy Quick Cook
  3. Favor family over food– make festivities about seeing family and not about eating food.
    • Serve a simple meal and focus on entertainment like music and or trivial pursuit.
  4. Stretch your dollar, save your waist – Use Intuitive Eating to portion your restaurant meal.
    • Be economical and bring leftovers home to eat at the next day’s snack or meal.
  5. Eat your favorite food– skip the appetizers and save room for dinner.
    • If dessert is your favorite, don’t fill up on apps and entrees. Make sure you are still hungry for your chocolate cake!!
  6. Secure a snack– before leaving make sure you are not starving, eat a snack to prevent overeating at the party.
    • Restriction cause binging, don’t restrict the day of a special event. You are likely to overeat or even binge later that night.

      Photo Credit: Lotus Carroll via Compfight cc

  7. Wine, beer and liquor on a full belly. If you drink on an empty stomach you are more likely to make poor decisions and overeat.
    • Take your sip of wine with your entrée. If you drink on an empty stomach you will not be mindful of your internal or external cues.
    • Most importantly, don’t drink and drive.