Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.


Welcome back, dear readers. I’m sorry about the lack of a Fun Friday post last week…I’ve been fighting off a nasty cold (it appears to be a variation of what plagued me in the Catskills) and wasn’t up to much of anything.

This reoccurring cold (or flu with cold-like symptoms) could be due in part to my own behavior. I’ve been up to my old bad habits lately–staying up too late, eating too much crap and not enough of the good stuff, and trying to do too much at once. My battered immune system can’t compete.

So I’m turning over a new leaf this week. Out with the old, and in with the new, and that means taking the time to make healthy meals again. This is doubly important if I expect to have the energy I need to prepare for the red prajioud test. Luckily, I enjoy cooking. I love trying new recipes, and I know food doesn’t have to be deep fried or coated in butter to be tasty. But when I’m super-busy and stressed, cooking dinner and packing a healthy lunch are some of the first things to fall by the wayside. Popcorn suddenly seems like a perfectly acceptable dinner (it’s a whole grain, after all). Yeah. Right.

In spite of my sluggish energy, sniffling, and sneezing, I took the time to make up a meal plan this weekend that should last me for at least two weeks. Annie from Annie’s Eats has a great post on making meal plans that you can read by clicking here. Even though I’ll be eating healthy, I won’t suffer from boredom with dinners like Caribbean-spiced pork tenderloin and buffalo chicken sandwiches. Since this blog is all about living your best life, I’m going to share my all-time favorite quick supper with you. It’s super healthy, the leftovers (should you be fortunate enough to have any) reheat well, and it’s a great way to use up any vegetables in your fridge. The vegetables listed below are just a guideline–use anything that you have on hand that you think would be good. I can’t see broccoli or cauliflower being great in this, but you never know!

Basil-Roasted Vegetables Over Couscous (adapted from Cooking Light)


1 heaping teaspoon dried basil (or 2 tablespoons minced fresh)

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 garlic cloves, crushed

Several Roma tomatoes, chopped into large pieces

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 (8-ounce) package mushrooms

3 cups hot cooked couscous (I use whole-wheat)

Feta to taste or 1 (3-ounce) package basil-flavored chèvre (goat cheese), crumbled

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Fresh basil sprigs (optional)


Preheat oven to 425°.

Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl; stir well. Add tomato, bell peppers, and mushrooms; toss well to coat. Arrange vegetables in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan. Bake at 425° for 35 minutes or until tender and browned, stirring occasionally.

Spoon roasted vegetables over couscous, and top with cheese. Sprinkle with pepper. Garnish with fresh basil sprigs, if desired.

So yummy! What’s your favorite quick healthy recipe?

Thanks for reading!
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  1. Elspeth Cross

    Good luck with the new leaf!

    Peppers and Sausage

    4 small potatoes
    1 tbsp oregano
    1 tbsp paprika
    1 tbsp olive oil
    1 lb (500 g) Italian sausage
    1 red pepper
    1 green pepper
    1 onion
    1 clove garlic
    mushrooms (optional)

    Cut potatoes into wedges. Mix oregano, paprika and olive oil in a bowl. Add potatoes and toss till thoroughly covered. Line a large casserole dish with potatoes and cook at 400F for 25 minutes.

    Cut sausage into bite size pieces. Fry till no longer pink. Dice peppers, onion, garlic and chop mushrooms. Add to sausage and fry till they start to soften.

    Pour all of sausage and pepper mixture over potatoes and bake at 400F for another 25 minutes.

    4 servings

    This is one of my fave fall recipes. If you do it in 2 casseroles, the second one keeps in the fridge really well for a day or two.

  2. Story Teller

    That sounds great, Elspeth! Thanks for sharing. Do you think it would work with other meats as well?

  3. kungfusinger

    Berry pecan salad

    This is a meal in a salad. It’s got protien in the cheeese and pecans, but low on carbs. I have dubbed it “candy salad”

    Ingredients needed:

    1 generous portion Baby spinach or mixed greens
    1 handful Fresh red/black berries (any kind you like)
    1-2oz Goat cheese (I prefer with cranberries)
    1 handful Pecans
    Raspberry vinaigrette (grocery store variety)

    On a salad sized plate, heap on the greens. Then sprinkle on generous amounts of pecans, berries and goat’s cheese. Drizzle on a small amount of dressing and enjoy. Serves 1. Ready in 30 seconds.

  4. Elspeth Cross

    You could try it. I guess that any meat that could be cut into chunks and fried to seal in the juices could be tossed into the oven to finish cooking. (I’m picturing pork, beef and chicken. Seafood gets tricky.) I think you’d need to use marinated meat; I think the spices in the Italian sausage are the reason no spices need to be added to the meat/sausage part.

  5. Story Teller

    Kungfusinger, that sounds amazing! I think I’m going to try that for dinner this week.

    Thanks for the additional info, Elspeth.

    Anyone else with recipes to share?

  6. Trin

    one pot wonders
    take one casserole dish drizzle with olive oil
    cut up and place in casserole any veggies that roast well ( eggplant works great with zucchini, peppers and mushrooms ) sprinkle with a bit of basil . Drizzle a little more olive oil, mix. grate cheese of your choosing over top and sprinkle with bread crumbs . If you wanted you could add any left over cooked meat . and cook for about 35 minutes at 350. and your dinner is done

  7. Knapper

    Crackpot Chicken Tacos

    1 package FROZEN chicken breast
    1 package chicken taco mix
    2 small cans of diced green chillies
    1/4 cup of olive oil
    1/2 cup of water or chicken broth

    Place all the ingredients in a crock pot – DO NOT STIR – Set to high and cook for 4-6 hours then switch to low to finish off

    Shred the chicken and serve with rice and beans on corn tostadas or corn/flour tortillas

    You can set it up before you go to work – turn it on low and it should be done when you get home.

  8. Anonymous

    When I’m at a loss for a quick, healthy meal I go for poached eggs – or really any kind of egg. I’m all about breakfast for dinner. Eggs, whole grain toast, maybe a piece of fruit and done! And let me just rise to the defense of roasted cauliflower and broccoli (but especially cauliflower). It would be delicious in your dish, Holli. Also, if you’re making roasted vegetables, they’re great in a frittata. Just grease the pan, add roasted vegetables and whisk eggs and a bit of milk with salt and pepper or other herbs and seasonings to taste (# of eggs, milk determined by pan size. For a deep dish pie pan, I’d say half a dozen eggs and half a cup of milk) and pour over veggies. Top with some shredded cheese and bake until set. Easy!

  9. Life As I Know It

    That looks really good. We eat a lot of cous cous – I think I’ll add this salad to my rotation.
    Luckily, my husband likes to cook too…we made a yummy curry vegetable pot pie last night. Comfort food all the way 🙂

  10. CeeBee

    This recipe is a favorite in my household:


    3 lbs chicken pieces (skinned)
    1 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    2 tbsp. green seasoning (found in ethnic aisle @ Superstore or Caribbean store)
    2 tsp. minced garlic
    1 tsp. Worchestire sauce
    1 tsp. soy sauce
    1 tbsp. ketchup
    2 tbsp. olive oil
    2-3 tbsp. brown sugar
    2 cups rice (could use brown to be healthier, but my other half wouldn’t go for it)
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    1/2 cup chopped red pepper
    1 can pigeon peas (or other bean of choice)
    1 hot pepper (or favorite hot sauce)
    1 can coconut milk (can uses light)
    2 cups chicken broth or water

    Season chicken with salt, pepper, green seasoning, garlic, W. sauce, soy sauce and ketchup. Heat oil in large pot, add br. sugar until it melts. Brown chicken 5 min, add rice, onions, red pepper, and pigeon peas, cook 5 min. Add hot sauce, coc. milk, and broth. Boil, lower heat and simmer until rice is cooked and all liquid is evaporated (30 mins). Enough for 8-10 or for one meal and a couple of lunches.

    Sounds long, but it’s easy and all in one pot!

    Adapted from The Multi-cultural cuisine of Trinidad and Tobago & The Caribbean.

  11. Story Teller

    Wow! Thanks so much for your contributions, everyone. They all look so delicious – I can hardly wait to try them!

  12. Andrea N.

    Banana Apple Pancakes with Spelt

    2 cups spelt flour
    2 tablespoonsful baking powder (not aluminum based)
    1/2 teaspoon of salt
    1 1/2 ripe bananas, mashed
    1 3/4 cups water
    1 egg (optional)
    1 teaspoon maple syrup (optional)
    1/4 cup of applesauce
    3 tablespoons coconut oil

    1. Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
    2. In a smaller bowl whisk together the liquids.
    3. Preheat griddle.
    4. Mix liquids into dry ingredients and whisk together.
    5. Oil griddle. Spoon batter onto griddle in 4 to 6 inch cakes.
    6. Turn when top side is thoroughly bubbled. Serve immediately.

    Serves 6-8

  13. Story Teller

    Great recipe, Andrea! Thanks for sharing it. Sounds yummy.

  14. Andrea N.

    It is a great recipe. We like to eat the pancakes with organic maple syrup or agave nectar…yummy!

  15. Story Teller

    I just made coconut banana bread yesterday, and am pretty happy with it. 🙂


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