Category Archives: Heart Healthy

Cinnamon-Raisin Granola

In my new quest for weight loss, I’m trying to eat healthier.  No brainer, right?  Well some things I just never have had before, including granola.  I mean I’ve had the granola bars before but never had regular straight up granola and it seems to be the “it” thing to make these days.

Lucky for me when we had our Biggest Loser brunch, my friend Jennifer brought some granola and yogurt.  I gave it a try and loved it.  I loved it so much that I found myself wishing I had some more that same afternoon.  And that evening, I went to the store and got the ingredients and made it.  I think my husband thought I had lost my mind, such an immediate love for GRANOLA??  Then he ate some.  And he loves it too.  So try it, might be your new favorite thing!  Thanks for sharing, Jen!

Cinnamon-Raisin Granola

Cinnamon-Raisin Granola
Recipe from Jennifer D., originally from All Recipes

4 cups old-fashioned oats (don’t use instant or quick, they won’t get as crisp)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup raisins


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Pour oats into a large bowl, set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, oil, honey and cinnamon and bring to a boil.  Once it’s boiling and the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Pour over the oats and stir in, folding untill well incorporated and no clumps are forming.
  • Spread in a large shallow low-rimmed baking pan and bake 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  When it’s golden brown, remove and stir in the raisins.
  • Store up to 3 weeks in an airtight container.

Cinnamon-Raisin Granola


Blueberry BBQ Grilled Salmon

I read somewhere recently that eating salmon twice a week can reduce your risk of heart attack by up to 30 percent.  I believe it also said that it helps with dieting as well.  After reading those stats, I decided it was time to introduce salmon to our diets.  And this is the recipe I was going to do that with.

Now I didn’t do any of the stats to see if this is actually a healthy recipe.  It may or may not be.  But I can tell you this – it’s a good one.  I’ve seen it pop up on many blogs I follow, usually a sign of something good.  I was a little nervous about the skin-on aspect, worrying that it would be fishy tasting but it wasn’t at all.  And I was even more excited to learn that the leftovers the next night tasted even better than the first night!

Some notes:  We didn’t grill ours outside – it was way too hot outside.  We cooked them inside in a cast iron pan.  Ours was served with couscous and greens.

Blueberry BBQ Grilled Salmon
Recipe from Pink Parsley

4 salmon fillets, skin-on
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup blueberries, rinsed and patted dry
1/3 ketchup
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp grated onion
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
pinch red pepper flakes


  • Pat the salmon dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
  • In a medium saucepan over low heat, cook the blueberries about ten minutes, until they are softened and begin to burst.  Use the back of a wooden spoon to gently mash them.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well to incorporate and further mash the  blueberries.  Cook on medium until the sauce begins to thicken, about ten minutes.
  • Heat the skillet over medium heat and add a little oil.  Add the salmon, skin side up and cook for 5 minutes, then carefully flip.  Brush the bbq sauce over the salmon and cook for another five minutes or until it’s cooked through.
  • Brush with more sauce before serving.

Blueberry BBQ Grilled Salmon

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Manicotti

I first had Swiss chard a few years ago and ever since then I vow every year that I will plant some in my garden.  And each year comes and goes and I never get around to it.  So I’m very grateful to farmers that allow me to be lazy yet still enjoy this tasty veggie. 

This recipe is a product of that promise that I made to start making some heart healthy recipes.  A few months back I received a complimentary “cookbook” from the American Heart Association.  Seemed like the perfect place to get the first recipe from and when I saw this one I knew that it would be the winner!  I was a little unsure because I’m not the biggest fan of ricotta, I usually sub cottage cheese for it in my lasagna.  But I stuck with the recipe exactly as is, to protect the health facts.  As my husband declared, this is a keeper!  It was very easy, the only thing I’d do differently next time (and there will be a next time) is spread the sauce over the whole top of the manicotti, instead of just down the middle.  The edges got dry and hard.

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Manicotti
Recipe from:  American Heart Association Light & Easy Recipes

Cooking spray
8 dried manicotti shells
1 bunch Swiss chard (about 8 ounces)
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1 large egg white
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
1/4 cup no-salt added tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese


Cook pasta al-dente’ (omitting salt and oil), drain in a colander but be careful not to tear the shells.  Set aside.

Spray a 13×9 casserole with cooking spray and set aside.

Discard the stems from the chard.  Stack several leaves on top of each other and cut into 1/2 inch pieces.  Repeat with remaining leaves.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over med-high heat and cook onion and garlic until soft, about three minutes.  Stir in the chard and cook until wilted and liquid has evaporated (about 3 more minutes).  Let cool slightly and stir int he remaining filling ingredients. 

Preheat oven to 375.

In a food processor, process the sauce ingredients together for about 20 seconds or until chunky.  Pour 1 cup of sauce into the baking dish and spread evenly along the bottom.  Gently spoon about 1/4 cup filling into the manicotti (be gentle so you don’t break them!).  Place into the casserole and top with the remaining sauce and the cheese. 

Bake, covered for 15 minutes.  Uncover and bake 10-15 more minutes, or until heated through.

Swiss Chard & Ricotta Manicotti

Calories: 324
Total Fat:  8.5 g
Saturated Fat:  4.0 g
Trans Fat:  0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat:  0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat:  2.5 g
Cholesterol:  28 mg
Sodium:  606 mg
Carbs:  44 g
Fiber:  5 g
Sugars:  11 g
Protein:  19 g
Dietary Exchanges:  1.5 lean meat, 2 starch, 3 veggies