Tag Archives: nutrition

Pumpkin and Chicken Chili

11 Oct

BusyFoodie's chicken chili

It’s October! That means it’s pumpkin time! I don’t know if it’s a chick thing, but the excitement over pumpkin doesn’t seem to extend to many of the men I know. Though you can definitely taste the pumpkin in this recipe, it’s subtle enough that my pumpkin-evading husband still enjoys it. I use ground chicken in this recipe, but you could also use chicken breast and thighs, cut into cubes. Alternatively, use turkey instead of chicken. I make this chili in a slow cooker so I don’t have to keep an eye on it, but you could also simmer it on a stovetop.


  • 2 lb ground chicken (or turkey)ingredients
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped (about 3 small carrots)
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 plum tomato, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans
  • 1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans
  • 1 can (4.5 oz) green chilies
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt, pepper to taste


  1. Saute chicken on high heat until white (about 5 minutes). Put chicken in slow cooker. DSC01020
  2. Saute onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes. Add cumin and saute for 1 additional minute. Add to slow cooker.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to slow cooker.DSC01026
  4. Cook on HIGH for 4 hours, or LOW for 8 hours.
  5. If you used chicken instead of ground chicken, pull the meat apart using a fork.  

    Nutrition Information
    per 12 oz. serving

    Calories: 270
    Total Fat: 8.2 g
    Saturated Fat: 2.3 g
    Sodium: 124 mg
    Sugars: 4.4 g
    Protein: 24 g

What’s in a Chicken McNugget?

13 Sep

In high school, I loved McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets. Crispy, meaty (maybe?), and so dunkable in barbecue or honey mustard sauce. Of course, I’ve discovered much better food over the years (not being completely broke helps), and now I avoid fast food chains as much as possible. Recently however, after a long and tiring business trip, my husband stopped by McDonald’s during a brief lapse in judgement. He brought me back a box of Chicken McNuggets…


What are in McNuggets, anyway? Turns out, there really is white meat chicken in these things, not pink goop! This is how Chicken McNuggets are made. Nevertheless, nowadays I don’t find McNuggets tasty enough to eat an entire box all at once. I ate a couple pieces and stuck the rest in the fridge. Here they are after 5 days, looking a bit sad and dry:


Were they still edible? I broke one open…the batter layer cracked open to reveal a hollow pocket, with what appears to be a bit of shriveled chicken. All I know is that when I cook chicken breast pieces and leave them in the fridge for 5 days, they don’t shrink to nothingness… I guess it’s no surprise that second on the list of ingredients for McNuggets is water (see page 10).

DSC00871Yup, definitely a food picture that doesn’t make you salivate!

Mission: Trying All the KIND Bars

9 Aug

Finally, I’ve discovered my favorite protein snack – KIND nut bars! The wrapper has a clear window so you can see exactly what’s inside, matching their clever motto, “Ingredients you can see and pronounce.”  When I discovered that my workplace subsidizes healthy snacks, I made it my mission to try every flavor of Kind bar that could be found in the cafeteria. Actually, it pretty soon became an obsession. I went from buying one or two bars at a time to stockpiling Kind bars to last me for the next two weeks.

IMAG2506Above: Blueberry Pecan

I ended up trying 16 kinds of Kind bars – that’s not nearly all the flavours out there, but after about 10 weeks of trips to the cafeteria, I seemed to have exhausted the workplace selection. It turns out that not all Kind Bars are created equal. Some are more delicious than others, but at the expense of higher sugar content. If you’re looking for more protein, you might prefer some flavours over others. Like a true geek, I’ve ranked the Kind bars using bar charts so you can pick the best for yourself. (Yes I know, I’m so clever).

This chart shows bars arranged from the highest protein content to the lowest, with sugar shown in the green bars. If you’re looking for the most protein, the Almond Walnut Macadamia bar is the way to go. This was actually one of my favorite bars. It’s not too sweet, with big pieces of macadamia nuts and almonds, and a good amount of honey.protein


Below: Close-up of Dark Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt – This is a perfect alternative to a chocolate bar. It’s chocolatey and very nutty, with a hint of sea salt.IMAG2512

This chart shows arranges Kind bars from lowest sugar content to the highest.


Below: Almond Cashew with Flax – there are whole flax seeds here, which unfortunately, often go undigested in your body. Waving the word “flax” around is just a marketing ploy here. (You’re better off buying some ground flaxseed and putting it in your breakfast.)

Perhaps most importantly, here are Kind bars arranged from most to least delicious.  For a given deliciousness rating, it’s easy to pick out the bar with the most protein and less sugar. From the set of most delicious bars (Deliciousness rating of 5), the Almond Walnut Macadamia bar is pretty good. The Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond tastes like a mouthful of chocolate-covered almonds – yum! The Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew however, while it’s my favourite bar taste-wise, packs 14g of sugar, the highest of the bunch I tried. It also had the least amount of protein (4g). It’s still better than chowing down on a Snickers bar of course (27 grams of sugar in a regular size bar), but it’s definitely not a particularly healthy snack. The Almond Cashew with Flax ranks below average on the Protein and Sugar charts, and it’s low on the Deliciousness chart, so why bother? Pick something else to nosh on. The Cashew and Ginger Spice bar, while low in sugar, tastes like a mouthful of ginger.

deliciousThe Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate bar tastes like a Snickers bar, but waaaay better. The Madagascar Vanilla Almond is great if you’re looking for something less sweet. It’s also a great one to take along if you’re traveling, because it’s less sticky than others, and it has no chocolate that can melt everywhere. Peanut Butter and Strawberry tastes just like a PB & J, the Almond and Apricot tastes like a Chinese bakery bun, with lots of coconut, and Apple Cinnamon Pecan is like an apple cobbler in bar form.

Below: Almond Walnut Macadamia bar IMAG2469

How do Kind bars compare to other brand? I also tried a thinkThin Crunch bar – the Caramel Chocolate Dipped Mixed Nuts tastes like a sinful treat thought it has only 6g of sugar. However, it’s less nutty than Kind bars – soy crisps come first on the ingredients list, and I would describe this as a soy crisp-peanut-almond bar coated in caramel.


It’s been a couple months since my mission began, and I’m still addicted. It’s hard not to have a Kind bar a day. Actually, every wrapper is printed on the back with “A study by the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center indicates that eating 2 KIND bars a day helps prevent weight gain.” That’s a lot of nut bars per day – I’m not there yet!

Carrot Ginger Soup

29 Mar

My boyfriend raves that this is his favorite soup so far! It might be because it’s made with coconut milk, which is pretty decadent. I like to make this soup in a slow cooker because it’s easy, but you can also sautée the vegetables and then add the remaining ingredients, to cook over a stovetop.

The nutritional info at the bottom of this recipe comes from the label on the can of coconut milk I used, and from http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/recipe_analysis.php

ingredients for carrot soup


1½ pounds carrots, chopped (about 10 carrots)

2 onions, chopped

3 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth

1 14oz can coconut milk

½ cup water

¼ cup orange juice

1½  tsp fresh ginger grated (or ¾  tsp dried)

Spice Blend (see right) or 3 Tbsp curry powder

sea salt to taste

Spice Blend:

1 Tbsp cumin

1½ tsp coriander

1½ tsp turmeric

1 tsp chili powder

½ tsp paprika

⅛ tsp nutmeg

1. Put all ingredients into a slow cooker. Stir.

A monkey and a slow cooker

A monkey and ingredients for carrot ginger soup

2. Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or HIGH for 4-6 hours.


3. Purée using an immersion blender or regular blender. Serve. Makes about 10 cups.

slow cooker carrot ginger soup

See? I told you this was easy!


Nutrition Information
per 1 cup serving
Calories: 113
Total Fat: 9 g
Saturated Fat: 7.7 g
Sodium: 69 mg
Sugars: 4.9 g
Protein: 1.8 g

Nutritional info is approximate! A big takeaway here though is that the amount of sodium in a bowl of homemade soup is far less than what you’ll find in a store-bought can of soup.

%d bloggers like this: