Fiesta Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos

Fish Taco Edited

Fish Tacos were one of the first entrees that I ordered when my husband and I were first dating years ago. I loved them! …Such a departure from greasy ground beef in a heavy “Mexican” sauce. He thought the idea of fish in a taco was absurd and subsequently made fun of me every time we returned to the restaurant. Back then, if you didn’t live in southern California, fish tacos were a rarity, but now they can be found all over! Unfortunately, many restaurants fry the fish to add crunch and to possibly mask the taste of the fish itself. I have come up with a fabulous recipe that is healthful, flavorful, and fun! Now my husband is the one regularly ordering the fish tacos from my kitchen!

Fiesta Fish Tacos

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 6 Tacos

1 Taco


    Mahi & Marinade:
  • 12oz Fresh (or Frozen and Thawed) Mahi Mahi
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Pinch of Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
  • ¼ Cup Cilantro Leaves, Chopped
  • Red Cabbage Slaw:
  • ½ Head of Red Cabbage, Shredded
  • 1 Cup Low Fat Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 4 Chipotle Peppers with Adobo Sauce
  • ½ Cup Cilantro Leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • Remaining Ingredients:
  • 6 Whole Wheat Tortillas
  • Store Bought Salsa (optional)
  • ½ Cup Cilantro Leaves for Garnish and Flavor


  1. Begin by mixing together lemon juice, salt, pepper, chili powder, and cilantro leaves for the mahi marinade.
  2. Place fish in an air tight container, pour marinade ensuring that every inch of mahi has contact with the marinade, cover, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  3. Shred cabbage or chop very finely. I prefer to use the shredding attachment of my food processor.
  4. In a food processor, combine yogurt, chipotle peppers, honey, and cilantro. Process until smooth.
  5. Add as much of the yogurt sauce as you like to the shredded cabbage. I tend to like it on the wet side to almost act as a sour cream or crema.
  6. Refrigerate slaw as fish is cooking.
  7. Grill or pan sear fish. Two 6 oz filets are usually perfect at roughly 4 minutes per side.
  8. Assemble tacos. It is fun to bring all ingredients to the dinner table and allow everyone to make their own tacos.
  9. If there is remaining slaw, it is great on sandwiches and in salads to add a flavor punch of crunch!


*Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce are found canned in the ethnic food aisle of your grocery store. They are quite spicy so use with caution, but the flavor they add is incomparable! To lessen the spice sting, remove the seeds from each pepper before adding to the food processor. Remaining peppers can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or two or in the freezer for a few months.

Nutrition Facts: 227 Calories, 3.8g Fat, 1.3g Saturated Fat, 38mg Cholesterol, 413mg Sodium, 5g Fiber, 18g Protein, 18% Vitamin A, 42% Vitamin C, 15% Calcium


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Immune-Boosting Power Foods to Help Ward Off the Flu

The flu 3

Flu 2

After being laid up on the couch for the third day in a row, I decided it was time to get up and start writing. It is day three of what seems to be the flu, although I did get a flu shot (not that it’s completely effective) so I am not quite sure. Today is the first day that my temperature is nearly normal, and my aches and pains have subsided enough for me to sit upright and type this. I feel pretty silly because just last week I was bragging to some friends, who were just getting over their colds, about how my healthy eating and daily green smoothies have kept me in fighting form…leave it to me to stick my own foot in my mouth…well turns out, I wasn’t doing everything possible to keep the flu from knocking down my door. Because nutrition plays such a vital role in maintaining our immune health, I thought it is appropriate to give you some important tips to both help prevent illness and aid in a speedy recovery- even if I didn’t follow my own advice, I definitely won’t let it happen again.

Foods to Prevent Colds and the Flu:  

  • Garlic: This strongly stinky bulbous plant contains a compound called, allicin. Allicin is known for its antibacterial and antifungal qualities, and is credited for protecting garlic from pests in nature. A British study found that those taking garlic extract for 3 months were 66% less likely to catch a cold. Garlic is also thought to lower the risk of stomach and colorectal cancer. Aim for 1-2 cloves per day. Eat it raw if you can tolerate it, or use it in your recipes.
  • Oysters: These slippery nuggets are full of zinc. This mineral is proven to either shorten the length and severity of a cold or prevent the contraction of a cold altogether. Those that ingest zinc on a regular basis may catch fewer colds per year. I recommend getting zinc from food sources as supplement forms have side effects such as nausea, poor taste, and some have reported permanent loss of smell with zinc nasal sprays – and it can be toxic if taken in large quantities. Food sources of zinc include: beef, oysters, crabmeat, wheat germ, spinach, pumpkin seeds, cashews, cocoa powder, and chickpeas.
  • Tea: Researchers out of Brigham and Women’s Hospital found a scientific basis for the centuries old belief that tea has beneficial properties. They found that black, green and oats oolong teas have high concentrations of the amino acid, L-theanine. Lab tests found that gamma T-cells (immune cells) treated with L-theanine multiplied significantly more than those not treated. This allows for an increase in disease fighting properties. When researchers compared tea drinkers to coffee drinkers, they found that those drinking 20 ounces (broken into 5 small servings) of tea per day had nearly five times the amount of disease fighting proteins in blood samples.
  • Oats: Who knew that morning bowl of oatmeal would contain a form of fiber called, beta-glucan, that is potent enough to ward of the flu. This complex carbohydrate compound travels to the small intestine where it will signal specified white blood cells to activate immune boosting cells and antibodies. This leads to greater disease-fighting potential.  Beta-glucans are also known for decreasing the risk for cardiovascular disease by lowering cholesterol levels, and even decreasing the risk of certain cancers. Oats, barley, and certain mushrooms such as shitake and maitake are rich in beta-glucans.


Okay, so you (like me) did not do everything in your power to avoid the dreaded cold or flu, and you wound up in bed, with a 101 degree fever, killer sore throat, major body aches, and virtually no energy…keep reading.

Foods to Aid and Ease Cold and Flu Symptoms: Chicken soup

  • Chicken Soup: Not just because it is a comfort food to nearly everyone, or because it is downright delicious, turns out chicken soup is much more than that. Research shows that it actually decreases the movement of inflammatory cells into the bronchioles. Why is this important? Because those wretched cold symptoms are often caused by the buildup of these inflammatory cells in the bronchioles. As chicken is cooked in water and broth is created, protein is broken down into more simple forms. One of these simpler forms is the amino acid, cysteine. It is said that cysteine appears very similar chemically to the bronchitis drug acetylcysteine. Warm chicken soup relaxes the chest and allows mucous to flow more easily. It is also a good way to take in more fluids, so drink up that broth!
  • Honey: Known for its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, honey is perfect for a sore throat. It can actually help kill bacteria in the back of your throat as it creates a soothing effect in its place. Add a spoonful in hot tea, enjoy it alone, or mix it into whatever you can think of to relieve that painful throat. Just remember honey should not be given to children under 1 year of age.
  • Spice:  By adding a dash of hot spice to your foods, your airways will open and you will temporarily breathe easier. Think cayenne pepper, horseradish, and wasabi. Add some hot sauce to your soups, or enjoy a spicy salsa. Spicy foods are known to boost the immune system and even offer healing effects. So find ways to incorporate spice into your life especially when you are under the weather.
  • Orange Juice: If you know me, you know that there is rarely an occasion in which I believe a store-bought orange juice is acceptable…well, welcome to that rare occasion. Although orange juice is virtually a sugar beverage in which little fiber is offered, it is also a liquid that is loaded with Vitamin C and other nutrients to aid in immune health. When we are really sick, we rarely have an appetite. Therefore by drinking juice, we are getting the glucose and fructose (sugar) that our body needs to function as well as much needed liquids. Dehydration is all too common with colds and the flu. It exacerbates the already ugly and uncomfortable symptoms. So here is your one and only opportunity to buy that orange juice. Go for it!

In reality, we can try as hard as possible to stave away that nasty flu, but sometimes it is just inevitable that we get sick. This is certainly not the time to beat yourself up for not doing everything under the sun to fight it. It can, however, be a good time to reevaluate your situation. Maybe you are working way too much, or not sleeping as much as you should, or maybe it is time to add that grapefruit to your morning regimen. But for now: sleep, drink fluids, rest, and repeat! The flu

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HTV Pizza! (Hide the Veggies)

Close up of mushroom


Hide the veggies pizza! Pizza is the ultimate vehicle to hide vegetables, and I am thrilled to add this recipe to the HTV list. The rich tomatoey flavor combined with the melty goodness of cheese is enough to disguise Grandma wearing army boots!  This is a weekly favorite in my house.

Because I will be regularly bringing HTV back as a recurring spot on this website, it is important that I give you a few basic guidelines to follow when embarking on an HTV challenge. This may sound silly, but these rules MUST be followed in order to benefit you and your family, and allow you to maintain your position as a trustworthy cook.

HTV Guidelines

1. Only hide the vegetables from children as an absolute last resort.  HTV is aimed at grown-ups more than children. It is for those that are simply too far gone, and teaching them to love veggies requires a little more ingenuity. Children must be exposed to many fruits and vegetables as early as possible. It should not be extraordinary to see children under 5 munching on salad greens-it should just be. The more exposure children get at a young age, the less finicky they will be. Many don’t know that it may take a child ten tries to finally like a food. So parents, never give up! If they make the lemon pucker face with their spinach puree at 9 months old, try again in few weeks, and again in a few more. Now there are always those children (and husbands) that just absolutely refuse to eat their veggies after years of trying everything under the sun-that is where HTV comes in.

2. Never lie. HTV is a fun way to incorporate that extra punch of nutrients into otherwise drab meals, but it is not intended to ruin your integrity as cook- or a human being for that matter. Remember we are only going to HTV out of love, so if you don’t mention that head of cabbage tucked away in the apple pie (oh yeah…it’s possible), it is perfectly fine. However, if you are ever questioned, you MUST tell the truth! Just be nonchalant and explain that you are “adding more years to their life and more life to their years” because you love them! Who could be mad at that?! Deceiving your loved one is simply unloving, and if caught, will turn them into a Sherlock Holmes of your kitchen. Don’t do it!

3. Capitalize on the vegetables that they do eat. There are always a few veggies that your picky eater does admit to enjoying. These are weapons that should be kept in our back pocket- never to be over used, but released in full force when the time is right. When these veggies are appropriate for a recipe, go crazy. The idea is to utilize every opportunity to get those immune-boosting, disease-fighting veggie nutrients into the meal without having to constantly sneak around. Substitute hated ingredients for those that are loved, double the amount of tolerated veggies in recipes, and just be creative!

This HTV Pizza supplies 100% of your daily Vitamin C, 59% Vitamin A, and 52% daily Calcium requirements…and the best part is, your victims will never know it!  The pizza begins with a whole grain crust that is topped with a sneaky tomato sauce and kale puree. My husband would never let kale pass his lips, and for that reason I have no other choice but to hide it! That kale will never be seen again, as I then cover it with part-skim mozzarella cheese. He will tolerate peppers and onions. So I chop them up very small and sauté. By cooking them before adding to the pizza, their flavors will become milder and do not stand out as strongly as they would if I were to add them raw. Next, my husband LOVES sausage (no surprise-anything that will clog an artery is on his favorites list), so of course I had to incorporate it. The secret when using these fatty meats is to buy smaller portions of high-quality cuts. So I purchased one, quite large, uncooked hot turkey sausage link (you may want 2 links if they are on the smaller side). If you cannot purchase just one or two links, save the remainder – they freeze quite well. Another little secret is to remove the sausage from its casing and crumble into very small pieces as you add it to the peppers and onions in the sauté pan. You want very small pieces of sausage so that a small amount can be stretched to cover the entire pizza. By cooking it with the other vegetables, the peppers and onions will now take on and carry that sausage flavor throughout the pie. After adding this mixture to the pizza, the final toping is a manly portion of sliced raw mushrooms. Here is where I am capitalizing on the vegetable that is adored by my husband. As you see from the pics, I went crazy with them. Although it truly is a Veggie Lover’s Special, this pizza does not at all taste like it, trust me! It tastes like a rich ooey, gooey, sausagey delight, and returns weekly to my dinner table by popular demand!

Dough Rolling

Dough with spinach and sauce Dough with cheese and veg Close up of mushroom Close up of cookes pizza


Here is the full recipe:

Ingredients: Serves 4

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

12 oz (½ of 1- 25 oz Jar) Low-Sodium Pasta Sauce

5 oz Frozen Chopped Kale, thawed and drained

1 Ball of Store Bought, Whole Grain Pizza Dough -or- 1 Precooked Whole Wheat Thin Pizza Crust

2 Cups Low-Sodium Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese

1 Small Green Bell Pepper

1 Small Red or Orange Bell Pepper

1 Medium Onion

1-2 Links Hot Italian Turkey or Chicken Sausage

2 Cups Sliced Button Mushrooms

1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In this recipe, I used fresh store-bought dough from Whole Foods and rolled it out myself. I like this dough because it is a mixture of whole wheat and regular white flour. This is hard to find anywhere else. So you can make your own or for a shortcut, I recommend using a whole wheat, thin pizza crust that requires no cooking. A good example is Boboli 100% Whole Wheat crust. If you decide to use fresh dough, begin by flouring a clean surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to desired shape, it should be quite thin. I like a free-form shape. Just make sure it fits into the pan that you will use – I use a rectangular half sheet pan. To prepare your pan, apply a thin layer of olive oil so there will be no sticking, and transfer the dough to the pan. Now for the sneaky part… In most cases the next step is usually the sauce. Make sure you choose a low-sodium sauce, premade is perfectly fine. In a blender, combine 12 oz of sauce and 5 oz of chopped kale, and puree until smooth.  Spread evenly on dough, leaving ½ inch of crust. I like to add a few spoons of plain sauce (without kale) to the edges, just so this green mixture doesn’t poke out from the cheese too much. Go ahead and add the mozzarella cheese. Meanwhile, sauté peppers and onion until soft. Remove the sausage from its casing and crumble into very small pieces as you add it to the pepper and onion mixture. Sauté until sausage is cooked through then spread evenly over pizza. Top with sliced mushrooms and oregano. Place in preheated oven and cook for 24-30 minutes. If using a pre-cooked crust, cook for 12-18 minutes.

Slice and Enjoy!


Nutrition Information per Serving:   518 Calories, 16 g fat (7g saturated, 1g polyunsaturated, 5 g monounsaturated), 0g Trans Fat, 813 mg sodium, 58g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 35g protein, 59% vitamin A, 108% vitamin C, 52% Calcium

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To Be, or Not to Be Gluten-Free


Glutin Gremlin

Unless you have spent the past three years vacationing out of the galaxy, you have heard about the gluten-free diet. Maybe you’ve tried it, maybe you’re even on it. It seems like everyone is “going gluten free” these days….but why? Well, there are a variety of likely reasons. For starters, the increase in testing and diagnosing of celiac disease (a gluten intolerance) as well as increased data proving the validity of removing gluten from the diet in certain disease states. There is growing research suggesting there may be improvement in symptoms of certain autoimmune disorders such as lupus, irritable bowel syndrome, type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis when gluten is taken out of the diet. The release of popular books such as “Wheat Belly” written by William Davis in which he claims you will lose weight by removing gluten from your diet has given people reason to think twice about ingesting this demon in the bread basket. As a professional, I must evaluate all claims by turning to science, research, and evidence. I will scour medical and nutritional journals reading the latest research and scientific studies proving or disproving claims. In some cases, like coconut oil for instance, the body of evidence is simply too small to make a true conclusion as to the benefits. However, it is pretty clear the role of gluten and our health. I will explain later. gliadin glutenin gluten

For those of us who aren’t familiar with gluten, think BROW- Barley, Rye, Oats, and Wheat. These are the four grains that should be avoided on this diet. Now what exactly is gluten? It is a protein comprised of glutenin and gliadin found in the endosperm of the grain. In most plants, the endosperm supplies protein and nutrients for the plant to grow and thrive. This is essentially gluten’s job for these grains. In baking and bread making, gluten provides elasticity and structure. It gives bread its shape and assists in the rising of dough. If the gluten is overworked, it will give cakes and bread and a tougher texture. For a chewy piece of French bread, this is perfect, but you certainly don’t want a tough and chewy cupcake. Bakers are very much aware of gluten’s role and adjust their recipes accordingly. Seems reasonable and pretty innocent, right? Well, there lies the controversy.

For patients with celiac disease, gluten ingestion can be debilitating. It shortens the microvilli in the small intestine. In a normal small bowel, these finger-like projections stand tall and collect and absorb nutrients passing through. If the microvilli are shortened, many nutrients cannot be absorbed. An otherwise healthy person may end up extremely malnourished due to this disease. Doctors check for celiac disease by first taking a blood sample and testing for certain antibodies that will be present in celiac disease. Because this is not a 100% reliable method, an intestinal biopsy is needed to confirm the findings. There is also evidence of gluten sensitivity in people that experience negative symptoms when ingesting gluten, yet do not have celiac disease. By removing gluten from the diet, their overall health status is much improved.

Given the popularity of the gluten-free diet, and the controversy that it brings, much research has been conducted on this topic- here is that whole evidenced-based practice thing I mentioned earlier. Without a doubt, it is more than clear that those suffering from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should remove gluten from their diet…But what about the rest of us? Gluten-free items are popping up in mainstream stores and selling like hotcakes. Claims of weight loss scream from the headlines. So does it work? ….Sorry peeps, but judging from scientific literature, the answer is NO. For those of us without gluten sensitivity, there is little research demonstrating that going gluten-free will improve our lifestyle or allow for weight loss. In fact, there is some evidence pointing to an increase in weight when gluten is removed from the diet. This is due to one of two possibilities. First, if the individual truly has gluten sensitivity, removing gluten from their diet allows for increased absorption of nutrients and thus increased calorie intake. The second possible reason for weight gain is the increase in consumption of gluten-free products like baked goods, cake and cookie mixes, and frozen meals that are growing in the marketplace now. When you look closely at the ingredient lists and nutrition labels, most of the time you will see these products are actually much higher in calories, fat, and/or sodium when compared to their gluteny counterparts. Many are not aware of this and have a free-for-all in the gluten-free aisle, chowing down like these baked goods are going out of style.

Now what about those that actually do lose weight? These individuals may have a sensitivity that they are not aware of or has not been diagnosed. This weight loss may be caused by a decrease in the inflammation that the individual is carrying around due to an immune response. The second possibility is that if on a gluten-free diet, he or she may simply be paying more attention to what they are eating. Sure you will lose weight if you are scarfing bagels, pancakes, French baguettes, scones and muffins for breakfast and then decide change to a slice of rice bread toast and fruit. I have found that many eat more healthfully, adding in more fruit and vegetables to their diets and less bread and baked goods when on a gluten-free diet.

The bottom line – current research demonstrates there is no reason to remove gluten from your diet if you do not have an autoimmune disease, celiac disease, gluten or wheat sensitivity. Will it hurt you to try out the gluten-free diet, just for fun? No, as long as you don’t take in more than you burn off, as that will result in weight gain.  Will you lose weight by going gluten-free? Not by that alone. You will lose weight by decreasing the smorgasbord of pastries and increasing your fruit and vegetable intake. So put down the cupcake and pick up the carrot!

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Roasted Comfort Salad – BYOL


Bring Your Own Lunch! This dish was inspired by a roasted root vegetable salad created by Chef Michelle Bernstein. I recently attended a nutrition oncology symposium in which she was the keynote speaker. If you are not familiar with her, she is a well-known Miami chef, restaurateur, television host, and celebrity in the foodie biosphere. Michelle’s objective was to demonstrate dishes rich in nutrients that would appeal to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, as they are known to have little to no appetitive. Her dish was so beautiful and brimming with healthy deliciousness, I had to bring it home and put my own spin on it.

I am, and have always been, a sucker for roasted vegetables. Certain veggies that are cooked under high heat for an extended period of time become extremely rich and deep in flavor. The sugars caramelize and form a sweet crust that will send shivers down your spine. This is what I call true comfort food. I have created this dish as a lunch on its own or with a side salad, but feel free have it in smaller portions as a side dish. When roasting vegetables, it is important to remember to cut most of the vegetables the same size to ensure that they cook at the same rate.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Ingredients: Serves 5

5  Large Carrots IMG_2601

3 Large Parsnips

2 Medium Sweet Potatoes

2 Large Heads of Cauliflower

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Pepper

2 Tablespoons Rosemary, Chopped

2 Tablespoons Thyme, Chopped

5 Ounces Goat Cheese

10 Tablespoons Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas)

I like the carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes sliced into sticks- not too thin and not too thick. The cauliflower cooks much faster than the other veggies, so cut into large chunks. Place cut vegetables in an extra large bowl (you may need two) and massage the olive oil, salt, pepper rosemary, and thyme into each piece. Place ingredients on roasting pans, and cook for 45-55 minutes, turning halfway through. As you can see in the photos, I roasted all the veggies together. However, the cauliflower was cooked perfectly about halfway through, so I would recommend roasting it separately and only for 25-30 minutes.



Allow the vegetables to cool completely before removing from pan. Because this was my lunch for a week, I portioned out the recipe into 5 servings prior to refrigeration. Do what works best for you. Top with 1 oz. of goat cheese and 2 tablespoons of roasted pepitas to add a protein punch and a crunchy topping. This recipe may be eaten hot, cold, or at room temperature, although I prefer it hot with cold goat cheese. Enjoy!



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