Monday, January 17, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside

The weeks have just been flying by since Christmas!  I blink and it is another Monday!  My daughter Ashley is heading back to Swarthmore today to begin her second semester of Sophomore year.  I loved having my girls home for such a long break - Cailyn will be home for a few more days but back to school they must go... 

Eat. Live. Be. for a Better 2011 Challenge Week 3

How do I stay motivated to keep up healthy habits when the weather is so cold? 

  • Healthy Recipes using pantry staples and winter produce
  • Exercise Indoors
  • Countdown to spring 
  • Good support system
Winter food doesn't necessarily have to be unhealthy.  Think dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, collard greens, escarole and Swiss chard.  They are so good for you and readily available during the winter months.  They are fabulous in soups and stews which are perfect when the weather is frigid.   I used the tip I gave last week to find this fabulous and super easy recipe from  I searched under "soups and stews", selected winter as the season, checked "healthy" and "staff favorite".  The search resulted in 13 great sounding recipes.  I selected the Quick White Bean Stew with Swiss Chard and Tomatoes by Joe Bastianich.  The fact that it's quick and vegetarian (not to mention positively delicious) make this a keeper that I can't wait to make again.  Canned beans and tomatoes make it the perfect pantry meal.  In the spirit of using what was in the pantry I used Great Northern beans instead of Cannelini.  All I needed was the chard.  I served it with some toasted Ciabatta rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil - so good!  My whole family loved it - no leftovers!   If you don't like meatless meals a few shrimp or some Italian chicken sausage would make a nice addition.

I just bought a Mobia by Nautilus exercise machine.  It is a cross between a treadmill, an incline, and stair stepper.  I try to walk daily or at least several times a week at the boardwalk or the local reservoir but the weather has officially done me in!  Three feet of snow and freezing cold weather has kept me indoors.  Well the cash outlay will keep me motivated so I will definitely be using the machine.  I really like it so far.  I watched cooking shows while on it this morning.  Is that wrong?!   

Countdown to spring!  Scroll all the way down to the bottom of my page to see my new widget and see how many days until spring. 

Lastly a good support system helps to keep you on track!  Thank you all! 

Quick White Bean Stew with Swiss Chard and Tomatoes
Courtesy:  Joe Bastianich


2 pounds Swiss chard, large stems discarded and leaves cut crosswise into 2-inch strips
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup canned tomatoes, chopped
One 16-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed


1.Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the chard and simmer over moderate heat until tender, 8 minutes. Drain the greens and gently press out excess water.

2.In the saucepan, heat the oil. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat until the garlic is golden, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the beans and simmer over moderately high heat for 3 minutes. Add the chard and simmer over moderate heat until the flavors meld, 5 minutes. Season the stew with salt and serve


  1. I think many of us are turning to healthier foods now that the holidays are over and beans and swiss chard are big favorites with me too. I think it's funny - not wrong - that you are watching cooking shows while exercising. You're reminding me I need to get MOVING!

  2. This is indeed a grand dish that will go into my winter repertoire. It doesn't skimp on flavor. I love the "countdown to spring." In Minnesota - you have to add a month! But it's coming...

  3. I know how difficult it is to keep up good habits when it's cold. You want to cook and eat...AND all those sweaters and coats cover up and lot of tummies. It's easy to slack off. Good for you for sticking to it.

  4. Jen, this looks so good. I love chard with beans and your dish sounds delicious. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  5. What a delicious looking winter meal! Mmm, and I actually think I may have all the ingredients on hand. ;)

    Good luck to both your girls -- hope they both have a wonderful semester!

  6. Ooooh, that bread. I am a huge Swiss chard fan and that dish looks delicious. And I totally love your spring countdown clock. Genius!

  7. Such a delicious looking meal! Perfect for filling the belly on these extremely cold winter nights!

  8. Gotta love a recipe with two instruction points! That's how mine was, too...though I think it is a tad deceiving. :-) This looks great!

  9. That stew looks like the perfect way to warm you up from the inside out.

  10. Sigh, if only my husband ate white beans! Looks so yummy!

  11. Oh this looks wonderful. I'm thinking lunch...

  12. this is EXACTLY the kind of meal I've been indulging in lately! Full of beans and healthy wintry ingredients! Love it.

  13. This looks delicious! Great job staying motivated!

  14. Looks great! I watch cooking shows on my treadmill too!

  15. Perfectly comforting for the cold yet healthy to where you can feel good about what you just indulged in. A perfect meal, in my opinion.

  16. Just made this... Instead of boiling the swiss chard, I just added it to the garlic and olive oil and cooked for 8 min before adding the tomatoes, then the beans. Delicious!!

  17. I saw Skinny Joe make this. He needs to start eating his mama's food again, he is looking too thin! (though I love this dish!).

  18. It has been a wild and crazy winter. Did i mention it has been wicked cold too?
    You are absolutely right, just because it's cold, does not mean you have to eat unhealthy. Your dish is proof!

    Glad you have been enjoying your children.


  19. I'm a huge fan of putting kale in soup! This combo with white beans and chard looks so delicious! Thanks for the inspiration.