FIT Hits the PAN Friday – Lentil Salad

I have had a bag of lentils sitting in my pantry for about a month that were begging to be used so when I saw this recipe on Facebook and I had to try it! Normally, my husband will turn his nose up at anything with lentils, but he loved this dish! I was actually pretty shocked he offered to try it without me asking. The recipe makes a large amount so it would be great for a party side dish! The only time-consuming part is dicing all the veggies, but you can use it as a chance to work on your knife skills.

One funny side note; I went to my mom’s to get the fresh parsley because she has a terrific herb garden. I cut what I thought was parsley but turned out to be cilantro. While the cilantro did not ruin the dish, it was a tad overpowering. Make sure you grab the parsley 🙂

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Lentil Salad
Servings: 5 • Size: scant cup • Old Points: 1 pts • Points+: 3 pts
Calories: 102 • Fat: 3 g • Carb: 20 g • Fiber: 9 g • Protein: 7 g • Sugar: 1 g
Sodium: 255 mg • Cholesterol: 0 mg


  • 1 cup dry brown lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1/3 cup finely diced celery
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper


In a medium saucepan combine lentils, bay leaf, and thyme. Add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered until lentils are tender but not mushy, about 16 to 20 minutes.

Drain lentils and discard bay leaf. Place in a large work bowl with carrots, celery, red pepper, red onion, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and serve chilled or room temperature.

Makes 4 1/2 cups


FIT Hits the PAN Friday – Quinoa Zucchini Bites

The other night my sweet husband pointed out that I “used to make unique dishes.” I thought, “What? You aren’t happy with chicken every night?” OK, OK I get it. I have been a bit lazy in the kitchen as of late. No worries, that ends now!

I have been eating my weight in zucchini the last couple of weeks. I cannot get enough of it! Thankfully, it is always on sale this time of year.







When I came across this recipe, I was very excited! I should point out that I attempted this receipt earlier in the week and after one too many glasses of wine, fell asleep and left the pan in the oven. Thankfully, the oven was turned off!

Here is attempt #2 🙂 They are delicious and a perfect fit for little hands.

Mini Quinoa Zucchini Cheese Bites










Recipe & photo from Sugar-Free Mom


  • 2 cups grated zucchini ( about 1 medium)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • optional: 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, salt & pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a  mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a bowl mix the zucchini, egg, cheese, quinoa and cilantro. I did not add any salt or pepper since the Parmesan is salty enough for us. Evenly divide the mixture into the mini muffin pan filling to the top, packed down in each cup. Bake for 15- 18 minutes until golden brown around the edges. Mine were perfect at 15 minutes.

Nutrition Info

Servings: 16* Calories for one: 27* Fat: 1g* Fiber: 0g* Carbs: 2g* Protein: 2g* Points+: 1*

FIT Hits the PAN Friday – Brian’s Vegetable Soup

green and red healthy food

I did not cook much this week. We made a huge batch of soup earlier in the week and just finished it today. I love vegetable soup because anything goes! You can make it chunky (or not) and you can add all the veggies you have left in the refrigerator and it all blends well together. My husband has a base he uses that is always a great hit. Enjoy!

Brian’s Vegetable Soup

Ingredients (you can use any variety of vegetables)

  • 1 tsp olive oil (to saute’ the onions and garlic)
  • 2 cups of low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups of carrots (sliced or diced)
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 can kidney beans (you can use dried for lower sodium but make sure you cook them before you add them)
  • 1 medium sweet potato peeled and diced
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes

In a large stock pot or dutch oven, saute’ the garlic and onions in the olive oil until clear. Add all of the liquid to the pot. Last, add all of the veggies and let simmer on medium-low for 2-3 hours. The liquid amount is really your preference. I prefer a chunkier soup and my husband likes it, well, more soupy!

Serve with your favorite crusty bread, over rice, over mashed potatoes or by itself! We ate it with cheese tortellini last night and it was very good!

FIT Hits the PAN Friday – Yellow Split Pea and Sweet Potato Soup

I purchased a bag of split yellow peas from a local produce market. Having never made anything with split yellow peas, I went searching for recipes and came across this one on the Whole Foods website.  I had leftover sweet potatoes from the Loaded Black Bean Sweet Potato Boats. This recipe is simple and tastes wonderful!

I added a dash of ground nutmeg and garlic salt at the end to kick up the flavor a little. Don’t skip the toasted pumpkin seeds; they are a great addition!


Yellow Split Pea and Sweet Potato Soup

Serves 8 (I cut the recipe in half)


8 1/2 cups water

1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

2 cups dried yellow split peas

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds


Bring 1/2 cup water to simmer in a large sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook about 5 minutes or until translucent. Stir in ginger and cook 1 minute, stirring. Add remaining 8 cups water, peas and sweet potato cubes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Uncover and continue to simmer 15 minutes. Carefully purée soup with a hand held immersion blender or in batches in a food processor (I used a Magic Bullet Blender) until smooth and creamy. Garnish with pumpkin seeds.

Nutritional Info:

PER SERVING: 290 calories (50 from fat), 6g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 30mg sodium, 44g carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 5g sugar), 18g protein

Natural Foods Glossary

My mom came across this handy pamphlet at our local Publix Supermarket containing key terms we see throughout the grocery store . For those of you without a Publix in your area, I am SO sorry. They are by far one of the best grocery stores in the world (no exaggeration)! When I first started eating healthier, I was not familiar with the terminology being used. This list would have really helped!

Here is a link to the Glossary on their website!

All-Natural Foods These foods are minimally processed and contain no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
Allergy An unusually high sensitivity to normally harmless substances such as pollens, foods, or microorganisms. Common symptoms include sneezing, itching, eye irritation, and rashes.
Antibiotic A substance or drug used to treat infections, originally derived from fungi, bacteria and other organisms. Today, synthetic antibiotics have been produced to accomplish comparable tasks.
Antioxidants Substances, such as beta-carotene and vitamins C and E, which block or inhibit oxidation within cells. Antioxidants may reduce the risks of cancer and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Carbohydrate An organic substance, usually of plant origin with a carbon, hydrogen and oxygen composition, which serves as a major energy source in the diet.
Carcinogens Substances that are capable of inducing cancerous changes in cells and/or tissues.
Cholesterol A crystalline substance found in soluble fat, which serves in the transporting and absorption of fatty acids. However, excess amounts can be a potential health threat.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) Unsaturated fatty acids that are essential for health, but not produced by the body: EFAs are commonly found in cold-pressed oils, particularly in oils extracted from cold-water fish and certain seeds.
Fiber The indigestible portion of plant matter and an important component of a healthy diet. It is capable of binding to toxins and escorting them out of the body.
Free Radical An atom or group of atoms with at least one unpaired electron. Because free radicals are highly reactive, they can alter the chemical structure of cells and may accelerate the progression of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Functional Foods Foods that have been enriched or fortified with vitamins, herbs, or minerals to provide a health benefit beyond the product’s traditional nutrients. For example: orange juice with calcium.
Isoflavones Plant-based compound with estrogen-like properties that are found primarily in soy beans. Isoflavens can act as low-dose estrogens and can also lessen estrogen’s effect on cells and skin layers, possibly reducing the risks of estrogen-related cancers.
Mineral A micro-nutrient that is neither animal- nor plant-based such as calcium, iron, potassium, sodium, and zinc, which is essential to the nutrition of humans, animals, and plants.
Organic Foods The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) strictly enforces proper production of these foods by using the following categories:

  • “100% Organic” products include all organically produced (raw and processed) ingredients (excluding water and salt).  The “100% Organic” label may be used, as may the USDA organic seal.  The organic certifying agent must be identified on the label, as must the seal.
  • USDA Certified Organics are made with 95% or more organic ingredients.  These foods may be labeled as “Organic” and carry the USDA organic seal.  The name of the certifying agent must appear on the label, although the seal is optional.
  • “Made with Organic Ingredients” means foods may include 70-94% organic ingredients.  Up to 3 of these organic ingredients may be listed on the primary display panel, along with the “Made with Organic Ingredients” tag.  The name of the certifying agent must be included; the USDA organic seal can not be used.
  • Foods made with less than 70% organic content can include the organic ingredients on the ingredient label. This term can be found on the information panel on applicable products and identifying ingredients.  It can not be used on the primary display panel, however, and no seals can be used.

Specific requirements to be certified organic vary slightly for different types of livestock, dairy and agricultural producers.

RDA An acronym for Recommended Daily Allowance or Recommended Dietary Allowance. The estimated amount of a nutrient, or calories, per day considered necessary for the maintenance of good health as determined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Saturated Fat A fat that is solid at room temperature. Although most are of animal origin, some like coconut oil and palm oil come from plants. An excess of saturated fats in the diet may raise cholesterol levels in the bloodstream.
Vegan These products are derived solely from plant origin, excluding animal protein (such as meat, eggs, dairy products or honey).
Vegetarian Foods derived from plant sources, such as vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes and nuts. May contain some animal protein, usually using egg or dairy products as ingredients.
Vitamin One of a group of organic substances essential in small quantities for life. For the most part, they must be supplied through the diet, since the body does not manufacture them.

FIT Hits the PAN Friday – Loaded Black Bean Sweet Potato Boats

I stared at this recipe for about a week before I got to it and never actually read all the ingredients. I find myself starting recipes without reading through them all the way quite a bit lately…I must get that from my mother :). I did not have any sour cream since we still have not jumped back into eating a lot of dairy, so I topped the potatoes with diced avocado instead. I also substituted shredded low fat Mozzarella for the Manchego. I recommend using the Manchego; the smokiness will provide more flavor to the dish. I plan on making these again the correct way so I can get the full experience! However, even with the substitutions it is a terrific recipe and super easy! Enjoy!

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 50 mins

Loaded sweet potato boats with black beans, manchego cheese, salsa, onion and simple avocado crema.

Author: Minimalist Baker – Check out the rest of this site if you have some time; she is an amazing food photographer!
Recipe type: Entree, Appetizer
Cuisine: Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Mexican
Serves: 3-4


  • 5 small sweet potatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ~1/4 cup grated Manchego or other Mexican cheese (such as Cotija or Pepperjack)
  • Avocado crema (1/4 cup light sour cream, 1/2 ripe avocado & lime juice)
  • Fresh Salsa, Cilantro and Green Onion for topping and dipping.


  1. Bake sweet potatoes in a 400 degree oven directly on the baking rack for 40-45 minutes or until tender to the touch.
  2. In the meantime, make avocado crema by mixing 1/2 a ripe avocado, 1/4 cup light sour cream and a bit of lime juice until creamy and smooth. Refrigerate until potato boats are ready to serve.
  3. Remove from oven to cool to the touch, but leave oven on.
  4. Carefully cut sweet potatoes in half and scoop out insides to make “boats.” Leave ~ 1/4 – 1/2 inch of flesh so they don’t become too fragile and difficult to handle.
  5. Reserve leftover sweet potato for sweet potato almond butter muffins, or another recipe of your choice.
  6. Place sweet potato boats face up on a baking sheet and fill with black beans and top evenly with grated cheese.
  7. Pop back in oven to warm through and remove when cheese is melted and bubbly.
  8. Remove from oven and arrange on a serving platter. Top with salsa, avocado crema, chopped green onion and fresh cilantro. Additional toppings might include guacamole, hot sauce and lettuce.
  9. Will reheat well the next day or two in the microwave or oven.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 sweet potato boat Calories: 157 Fat: 5 g Carbohydrates: 23 g Sugar: 0 g Sodium: 44 mg Fiber: 4.6 g Protein: 4.8 g

FIT Hits the PAN Friday – Vegetarian Meatloaf

We are nearing the end of the Engine 2 Diet – 28 Day Challenge. It has been a great (and sometimes trying) experience. My husband lost 15 pounds and I have stayed at my goal weight. A couple other of our group participants have also lost weight. While we are not prepared to continue to eat a vegan diet indefinitely, we do plan to limit our animal product intake and be much more selective of the types of animal products we purchase.

I found this recipe when searching for a recipe to use my cooked green lentils. This recipe is not vegan, nor is it Engine 2 Approved because of the cheese. I adapted the recipe to eliminate the egg, so you could ultimately eliminate the cheese as well. Ground nuts or vegan cheese may be a good substitute. Unfortunately, the vegan cheese I purchased was awful so I used real cheese that I had in the freezer. This would be a great recipe to use in place of meatballs too!

My recipe was adapted from this recipe, Really Good Vegetarian Meatloaf (Really!). By substituting EnerG Egg Replacer for the eggs and cutting the cheese quantity, I saved several grams of fat and most of the cholesterol. I will put my changes in red and the nutrition info will be using my substitutions.


Photo Credit:

Really Good Vegetarian Meatloaf (Really!)

2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup lentils
1 small onion, diced
1 cup quick-cooking oats
3/4 cup (1/4 cup)  grated cheese
1 egg, beaten (EnerG Egg Replacer – follow product instructions)
4 1/2 ounces spaghetti sauce or 4 1/2 ounces tomato sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • Add salt to water and boil in a saucepan.
  • Add lentils and simmer covered 25-30 minutes, until lentils are soft and most of water is evaporated.
  • Remove from fire.
  • Drain and partially mash lentils.
  • Scrape into mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly.
  • Stir in onion, oats and cheese until mixed.
  • Add egg, tomato sauce, garlic, basil, parsley, seasoning salt and pepper.
  • Mix well.
  • Spoon into loaf pan that has been generously sprayed with Pam (non-stick cooking spray) or well-greased.
  • Smooth top with back of spoon.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30- 45 minutes until top of loaf is dry, firm and golden brown.
  • Cool in pan on rack for about 10 minutes.
  • Run a sharp knife around edges of pan then turn out loaf onto serving platter.