Holiday appetizer ideas!

Olive tapenade stuffed cherry tomatoes, anyone?

I love appetizers. LOVE. They’re such small individual commitments. You can have one of everything, experience tons of different flavors, and still have room for dinner.

Here are some fun ideas:

Olive, marinated artichoke and tomato platter

Roasted nuts and dried fruit

Cucumbers topped with white bean dip and herbs

Crackers topped with kite hill almond cream cheese and red pepper jelly

Hollowed out cucumbers filled with soba noodles (Oh yes. People find time to make them. I could make time to eat them.)

Fruit skewers

Vegetable spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce

Avocado and cucumber maki

Chips with guacamole and salsa

Warm pita with hummus and sliced tomatoes

Creamy spinach artichoke dip with toasted baguette

Need I go on? So many fun and delicious options to enjoy while mingling and talking before the meal!

Skimp on the shrimp: One thing to consider avoiding? The shrimp ring. Bottom trawling for wild shrimp yields about 30% shrimp. The other 70% of ocean life caught in the nets are discarded, dead, back into the ocean. So consider skipping the shrimp ring. If it really doesn’t feel like Christmas without it, go for the smallest size and complement with lots of other choices. You can reduce your environmental impact by half if you cut your consumption in half, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing!

Best wishes as you do your own menu planning whether you’re celebrating Christmas or Channukah or just excited for New Year’s Eve!



Lighter Makes Meal Planning Easy – And Right Now It’s Free For Everyone!

Get my recipe for Chai Spiced Overnight oats here!

You may remember my review of Lighter, a meal planning service that provides healthy, delicious recipes and puts together a grocery list for you.

They’ve expanded their platform, and as part of their restructure they asked me to provide some recipes and be featured on their website showing what real people eat! They’ve also paused grocery delivery in order to reach more customers, so you no longer need to live near a grocery delivery service to take advantage of their fabulous custom meal plans. (Delivery service may be reintroduced later, for now, you can use their grocery list to quickly order your own!)

I’m incredibly honored and thrilled to be a volunteer for this amazing project.

Kelly Caiazzo (2)

They sent a professional photographer to our house, tested and photographed recipes I submitted, and you can check it all out here! I submitted every recipe listed on my “favorite meals” page except the loaded veggie quinoa bowl, which is a Lighter original I fell in love with while using the Lighter service for our family.

I’m in good company, too – my hero Dr. Greger and local wellness celebrity Stacy Kennedy are also profiled!

What a wonderful opportunity, and I hope you’ll check out Lighter’s new platform.

What is Lighter?

Lighter provides you with meal plans, ingredient lists, and recipes all based on your family’s profile, including how much time you have to cook, what you own for kitchen equipment, and any food dislikes or allergies your family has.

And it’s in beta mode, so it’s all completely free. Anyone can sign up and get customized meal plans made for them, with recipes and grocery lists to go with them!

Healthy eating just got easier 🙂

Easy, fast, healthy lunch idea & some updates

This lunch took 10 minutes to make.

Store-bought fat free organic polenta, jarred marinara sauce (Engine 2 makes an oil free, low sodium tomato basil sauce if you’re looking for a healthy option) and some freshly washed baby spinach and blueberries. I didn’t even use salad dressing; just combined it on the fork with polenta and sauce.

It’s worth noting that if you give a four year old the option to use tongs, they’re much more likely to get interested in a new food! My 4 year old devoured the polenta with gusto. Participating in preparation didn’t work with my five year old, but that’s a 50% success rate, and if you’re a parent who has tried to get young kids to eat something new, you’re probably (sadly) as impressed as I was.

Some Personal Updates

Meditation: I’m still using the guided meditation app Headspace and loving it.

Organization: My running drawers have REMAINED ORGANIZED using the KonMari folding method. I am shocked to report this, but they look so good that I can’t bring myself to just throw running gear in there. The cleanliness has begotten more cleanliness. I love running upstairs in a rush to get to spin class and finding exactly what I need the second I open the drawer. It’s been THREE MONTHS and my drawers still look perfect!

Missed workouts: I was supposed to go to the pool yesterday, but the babysitter who was scheduled had a persistent cough so I sent her home because I was too worried about the kids getting sick. Then I couldn’t go this morning, because one of the kids left the dome light on in my car overnight and my car wouldn’t start, leading us to realize that it needed the battery replaced so I had to take it to the shop instead of swimming or going to spin.

It reminded me how precarious our schedules are sometimes. Even when you schedule it in or “make it a priority” sometimes you just have too many priorities. My kids’ health is a priority. Transportation is a priority. Don’t forget to make sleep a priority!

Sure, sometimes we miss a day for less legitimate reasons. But it’s important to take a deep breath when things don’t go as planned, and remember that while consistency is key, us non-professional athletes are pretty lucky because our training can come second, third or fourth. We can put our families or work or friends first, and still make it. Part of the fun of getting across that finish line is knowing that we did it in spite of everything else in our lives.

So I’m doing yesterday’s swim workout this afternoon when the sitter comes, and I don’t get to spin until Thursday or Friday. I’ll make the lasagna before she gets here and ask her to put it in the oven, and things will be fine.




Super Bowl Sunday Recipe Round-Up

Looking for some Superbowl Sunday recipes that you can snack on without feeling sick afterwards? Check out this delicious round-up of tried and true snack recipes from my favorite food bloggers. They’ll cover your cravings whether you’re looking for spicy, salty, creamy or crunchy… all without the cholesterol or heavy greasy feeling after you eat them. I call that a win!

Don’t forget a make your own noodle bowl or taco option!
  1. Roasted Sriracha Cauliflower Bites with Peanut Dipping Sauce from Thug Kitchen. These are shockingly delicious, taste nothing like cauliflower, and will satisfy your buffalo sauce craving. Warning – Thug Kitchen’s signature style is excessive profanity laced throughout its recipes. I think peanut and sriracha is cool enough without it, but maybe don’t pull up the website in front of your impressionable 10 year old
  2. Easy Vegan Queso from Healthy Happy Life. No Game Day recipe round-up would be complete without a cashew based nutritional yeast cheese sauce. You have to try it to believe it, but the creaminess from the cashews pairs perfectly with the savory taste of nutritional yeast and the bright flavors of green chiles and cilantro. While I usually reserve nutritional yeast for my more plant-based friends, you might be surprised by just how delicious and crowd friendly this is!
  3. Pulled Portobello BBQ Sliders from One Ingredient Chef. BBQ sauce. Portobello mushrooms. Sliders. Does this even need a caption?
  4. Pico de Gallo and 7 Layer Bean Dip from Oh She Glows. Because… 7 layer bean dip. It’s a must. With a beautiful balance of creamy and fresh, this is one dip where you won’t regret eating half the bowl.
  5. Softly Spiced Nuts from plant-powered kitchen. Roasted nuts are easy to make in advance, taste so much better than store bought, and fill your house with the most amazing scent. What better way to welcome guests to a Super Bowl party than the warm and welcoming smell of toasted walnuts, cashews and pecans mingled with cardamom and nutmeg… oh and chili powder. Comfort incarnate.

Enjoy the game… or the commercials… or playing cards / reading your kindle and boycotting the whole thing 🙂

Green Light Banana Chia Bread Recipe 

I love quick breads. Cranberry orange loaves, zucchini bread, and ohhh… that pumpkin bread that my great-grandmother up in Camden used to make… it tasted like cake. So delicious.

But… there’s a lot of sugar, fat and refined flour in many of these recipes. After reading Dr. Greger’s amazing new release, How Not to DieI wanted to come up with a recipe for quick bread that I’d feel better about eating. One where the fat came from seeds, and the sweetness came from fruit, and the flour still boasted a high fiber content.

I’m not saying I won’t continue to eat light and fluffy cranberry orange loaves in the future even though nutritionally they’re dessert. I just want to move those breads into the “occasional” category, and make my every-day choices better.

What if I could make a healthier quick bread that’d still taste great, and be a “green light” breakfast for me, and snack for the kids? (Dr. Greger uses a traffic light system for foods, with unprocessed plant foods being the green light category.)

That’d be worth doing. So I did. Three loaves of banana bread later, here’s my recipe!


With no oils or refined sugars, this banana bread gets all its sweetness from medjool dates, molasses, applesauce, and (of course) bananas. Flax seeds contribute healthy fat and lignans, which are a powerful antioxidant. It’s packed with fiber from the chia seeds and whole wheat flour, and tastes especially delicious smeared with peanut butter (and MAYBE dotted with chocolate chips…). Preschooler approved.


  • Ground flax seed, 4 tablespoons
  • Unsweetened soy milk, ½ cup
  • Whole wheat flour, 1 ½ cups
  • Baking powder, 1 tablespoon
  • Baking soda, 1 teaspoon
  • Bananas, 3 medium sized ripe
  • Medjool dates, pitted, ½ cup (about 6 fruits)
  • Unsweetened applesauce, 1/2 cup
  • Blackstrap Molasses, 1 tablespoon
  • Chia seeds, 1/3 cup


  • Peanut Butter for Serving
  • Cacao nibs for serving


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the ground flax seeds and soy milk together with a fork and set aside. In a mixing bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Using a blender, puree the bananas, medjool dates, applesauce, and molasses until smooth. Gently mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until thoroughly moistened. Fold in the chia seeds.

Transfer batter to a parchment lined or lightly greased bread pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes until bread is nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Serve plain, or top with peanut butter and/or cacao nibs for a high energy snacking!