• Lindsey, EDRD

There's been a noticeable change around our house.

Teddy is now a GOOD BOY.

Like, he doesn't feel compelled to chew everything. He will happily park it on the couch. Or floor. Or his kennel. For HOURS.


In food news, I made some nachos! But not your traditional ground beef and gloopy cheese nachos. Chicken fajita nachos! With queso fresco. And lots of salsa. And lime juice. And cilantro. We're talking whole grains, lean protein, veggies x3. 'Cause there's no room for basic in 2021.

Let's do it.

Chicken Fajita Nachos

-8ish oz bag tortilla chips (blue corn is my favorite, but any corn will work)

-1 tablespoon olive oil

-1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts

-1/4 teaspoon each salt, pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika (<-- no biggie if you don't have this)

-8 oz Neufchatel cream cheese, room temperature

-8 oz light sour cream

1/4 teaspoon minced garlic (or garlic powder)

-Packet of fajita seasoning mix

-3 bell peppers, seeded and cut into strips

-1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

-6 oz queso fresco

-Pico de gallo or other salsa

-Lime wedge for garnish, optional

-Fresh cilantro, optional

Okay so this does look like quite the list of ingredients, but feel free to take a giant shortcut on the chicken. I cooked mine from raw but you could use any shredded or precooked chicken. The veggies can be cut up to a day in advance.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut up chicken into 2-3" chunks. I sauteed mine, but I suppose if you prefer grilling you could keep them as whole breasts. Season with the salt, pepper, chili powder, and smoked paprika. Heat olive oil over medium high heat and cook chicken until browned and internal temp in biggest chunk is 165 degrees or higher (super appetizing when I talk about CHUNKS, huh?). Put chicken on a cutting board and cut it up into nice shred-ish pieces. Put the chicken back into the pan. Add fajita seasoning and 1/4 cup water. My grocery store was out of seasoning so they subbed a liquid version- same deal. Let simmer for a few minutes.

In a bowl, beat together cream cheese and sour cream and garlic. Pour into chicken pan and stir that around until it's all nice and melted. Add pepper and onion strips. Cover and let simmer for ~10 minutes.

Cover a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread chips around the pan. Spoon chicken/pepper mixture over the chips. Bake for 10-15 minutes. I'll admit that I was impatient and cooked mine at a low broil for ~5 minutes. Whatever you'd like to do!

Remove from oven and immediately top with crumbled queso fresco and salsa. Serve warm.

Remember- corn is a whole grain!

The dog might have napped beside us while he ate, but you can bet he was hunting for any scraps left behind once we were finished. Sorry pups- not much in the way of leftovers tonight!

Makes six servings. Per serving: 506 calories, 29 grams carbohydrates, 25 grams fat, 38 grams protein, 565 mg sodium

  • Lindsey, EDRD

Here we are: 2021.

Our NYE was pretty much like any other night, except the BOTTLES WERE POPPIN'!

Bottles of Martinelli's, that is. I let the kids drink their "kid champagne" out of fancy cups and they were all about it.

That, plus a Daniel Tiger countdown at 7:30 meant my husband and I could actually sit down and enjoy a drink ourselves, while saying goodbye to both 2020 and "The Office" being on Netflix.

What I might be *most* proud of on my NYE was that I made AND ATE salad that contained fruit.

I'm barely a salad person to begin with and I'm firmly against the inclusion of fruit amongst my greens. But I don't know- 2020 had me all questioning everything anyway, so I took a chance and made this salad. You know what? It's going to be in heavy rotation. Everyone liked it, even thought the kids requested that everything be separated on their plates. I can roll with that.

Squash & Pomegranate Salad

-2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I had two huge ones) + preferred seasoning

-2 lbs-ish butternut squash (I am in no way going to take the time to cube up my own- precut is my fave)

-1 tablespoon olive oil

-1/2 teaspoon salt

-1/2 teaspoon pepper

-1/2 cup walnuts

-Arils from 1 pomegranate (about 3/4 cup)

-6 oz crumbled goat cheese (if your store doesn't have crumbles, it's easy to buy a little log and crumble it yourself)

-5 oz salad greens (I used baby spinach and arugula)


-4 tablespoons olive oil

-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

-1 tablespoon honey

-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

-Pinch each of salt and pepper

Whisk together ingredients. If not using immediately, store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

This salad can be partially made in advance. I made the chicken in the morning- just seasoned it and baked it, covered with foil, for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. I let it cool then coarsely diced it up.

This seasoning from Aldi is my go-to for any meat. It already has salt in it so it's super easy.

The squash can be made in advance too. Toss the squash cubes with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake at 350 for 40 or so minutes. I let mine go a little longer because I really like it crisped up. For the last five-ish minutes of baking, I moved it all to one side of the rimmed pan and added the walnuts. The walnuts can burn if you let them go too long, so keep an eye on them. Once cooled enough to handle, coarsely chop those up too.

When you're ready to assemble the salads, start with your greens. I like a baby spinach-arugula mix, but use whatever you like. Top with chicken (either warmed up or cold- whatever's your jam), squash, walnuts, goat cheese, and pomegranate arils.

Drizzle a bit of dressing on top and GET IT.

Nutritionally, this salad pretty much has it all: greens give tons of fiber and vitamins and minerals. The pomegranates contain tons of antioxidants and vitamin C. The chicken is pure protein. The butternut squash gives you some vitamin A and fiber. The walnuts and olive oil bring healthy unsaturated fats to the party.

I really dig this because it's such a variety of textures. You've got the crunch of the greens, the tender chicken, the crunchy nuts and juicy pomegranate arils, and the creamy goat cheese. Every dang bite is awesome.

Makes six salads. Per salad: 440 calories, 25 grams carbohydrates, 26 grams fat (mainly heart healthy from the olive oil), 27 grams protein, 1018 mg sodium.

  • Lindsey, EDRD

Well last weekend sure went by quickly.

The handful of red-wrapped presents are from Santa. The brown paper ones are from mom and dad. I don't need my kids thinking all this is from some random bearded guy.

(Can you spot the Fourth of July decoration Sabrina insisted on putting on the tree?)

As for gifts, I was equally as excited to give this to my husband as he was to receive it- our favorite restaurant in NYC has a cookbook. SO. GOOD.

So far the marble run has been the toy the kids have played with the most, though there is a massive Lego set they've been waiting on me to help them build. You know, because I'm not stepping on enough Legos throughout the house...hrrrrrrmmmm.

All in all we had a nice lazy weekend, but now I'm all for stashing the Christmas stuff and getting the house clean & cleared for the new year.

I think I love my white winter decor just as much as the Christmas stuff.

I gave myself a white mani too. FRESH EVERYTHING FOR 2021!

I went to Target with the boys (they had some dollars burning holes in their pockets) and I picked up a bunch of new dark chocolate bars for myself too. Let's talk about that, mmk? I am 100% for dark chocolate.

Reason #1: It tastes delicious.

Reason #2: It is much lower in sugar than regular chocolate and candy.

Reason #3: It can have just as many antioxidants as fruits.

Reason #4: Some research indicates a relationship between ~6 grams of dark chocolate daily and reduced risk of heart disease.

These are the four fancy-ish bars I bought. For comparison's sake, I'm going to consider Hershey's Special Dark chocolate the most basic dark chocolate option.

30 grams is about 1 ounce- for a visual, think of a domino.

TASTE aside, let's take a peek. Interesting how Hershey's has the lowest fat and second lowest calories, but BY FAR the most sugar. Hershey's doesn't say on the packaging or on their website what percentage of actual cocoa goes into the bar. Generally the higher the percentage of cocoa solids, the less sugar. Dark chocolate ranges from 50-90% cocoa solids, whereas milk chocolate has 10-50%. I personally love dark chocolate in the 80% cocoa solid range, but 90% is just a little too bitter for me.

Lily's dark chocolate sticks out a bit because of its zero added sugars. Let's look a bit deeper here at the label.

The second ingredient here is erythritol, a sugar alcohol. Now there's nothing "wrong" with sugar alcohols- they're sweet tasting non-digestible substances. They're used in the majority of sugar-free candies. The downside for a lot of people is that 1. they can leave a slightly funky after taste, and 2. because they're non digestible, too much will give you diarrhea. Lily's also uses stevia for sweetening.

Another thing to note with the Lily's is that they add inulin- a type of fiber. They don't just add a teeny bit either- a whopping 8 grams per serving (that's the equivalent fiber content of a half cup of lentils). That's not a bad thing, but all signs point to this NOT BEING SOMETHING YOU WANT TO EAT TOO MUCH OF, unless you're well stocked up on toilet paper. This being 2020, that is doubtful.

The Ghirardelli, Equal Exchange, and Endangered Species are all pretty equivalent, nutritionally-speaking.

Let's talk about taste. The Lily's, while delicious-as-you're-chewing, does give me that bit of sugar alcohol aftertaste. I do not have the slightest of a refined palate, and so I found the Equal Exchange, the Endangered Species, and the Ghirardelli all comparable. When price is factored in, Ghirardelli is the more affordable option.

All in all, I love my dark chocolate and will continue to have some every day. Yep, daily! I usually have half an ounce after my lunch and another half an ounce or whole ounce after dinner. For me it helps keep sugar cravings away, and since it's so rich-tasting, a small piece satisfies. The only thing I have to be careful about is keeping it out of reach of the kids- they know it's "mommy's chocolate" and I need to keep it that way!

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  • The Everyday Dietitian
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  • The Everyday Dietitian

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