Simple Steps: Tailgating Treats

September 28th, 2017 | Posted by Kimberly Vanderpoel in Recipes - (0 Comments)

The chill in the air and the leaves changing colors can only mean one thing…it’s tailgating season. Take these simple steps to healthy treats and enjoy the pre-game!

Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Dip


1/2 (8 oz) Package fat-free cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or low-fat sour cream)

1 1/2 tbs Spicy ranch dry salad dressing & seasoning mix (or the regular ranch dry mix will work)

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or blue cheese)

1/2 cup Red Hot™ Buffalo Wing Sauce (more or less depending on desired heat)

1 1/2 cup chicken, cooked and shredded (or pulled)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a small baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a bowl, mix together the first 5 ingredients. Add the pulled chicken, and stir until well combined.

Spoon mixture into baking dish, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until dip is warmed through and cheese is melted. Serve warm with baked chips, celery sticks, or other veggies!

Recipe source: Dashing Dish

Skinny Baked Sweet Potato Chips


1 large sweet potato, peeled

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

¼ tsp salt


Preheat the oven to 225° F, and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

Using a mandoline slicer, slice the sweet potato chips very thinly. On a slicer with three thickness settings, use the second.

Line the potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheets, and lightly brush the tops with oil.

Season evenly with the salt.

Bake for 1 to 1½ hours, until the chips are crispy, rotating halfway through. Allow the chips to rest for 5 minutes before eating.

Store leftovers in an airtight container.

Video Demonstration

Recipe and Video Source:

Petite Pecan Tarts


8 sheets phyllo dough, thawed

2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated
margarine, melted and slightly cooled

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup light corn syrup

2/3 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup pecans, chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla

pinch salt

1 egg, beaten

1 egg white, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare two mini muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray.

Place one sheet of the phyllo dough on a cutting board. Spritz with nonstick cooking spray. Repeat with 3 more layers, spraying between each layer. Cut the dough into circles using a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter or cut into 2 inch squares using a knife or pizza cutter.
Place one piece of dough into each well of the muffin pans. Repeat with the remaining 4 sheets of dough.

Combine all the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl. Spoon one tablespoon of the batter into each prepared dough shell. Bake for 23-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool at room temperature. If serving the following day, refrigerate after cooled.

Makes 24 tarts, one serving each

Recipe Source: SparkPeople

Hello….and Happy Wednesday!

We all know we should move more, but reality is some days it is a challenge to fit in a workout. We’d like to encourage you, DON’T “throw in the towel” on the days that time is short. Instead, try and do a few of these simple steps.

1-Take the Stairs. Whenever possible take the stairs. Every time you take the stairs instead of the elevator, you are choosing YES to activity.

2- Clean your House. Cleaning your home is a great workout. You walk, lift, stretch and bend. When standing doing dishes or cooking dinner, do some calf raises. When you are dusting, turn on the music and do a little two-step.

3-Walk while You Wait. Don’t just sit in the car while you wait for your child to finish piano or soccer practice, get out and walk. Every 5  minutes counts to a healthier you.

4-One Bag at a Time. Instead of carrying in 4 bags of groceries at a time, carry them in one by one. Those few extra minutes leads to many extra steps.

5-Wear a Pedometer. This can be a game changer. After all, how can we really know how active we are if we aren’t measuring it.

6-It’s Park Time. Take the kids to the park and play. Show the kids what you are made of…cross those monkey bars, slide down that slide, and pump your legs on that swing. It’s amazing how great of a workout you can get…and have fun too.

7-Take Five. Every hour, take 5. Do 5 jumping jacks, 5 push ups, 5 sit ups, 30-second wall sit…or any of your other favorites. At work, no problem, find an empty conference room, the garage, or under the stairwells.

8-Brush and Squat. Do a few squats when you are brushing your teeth.

9-Walking Meeting. Add some pizzazz and steps to your day by making your next meeting a walking meeting.

10-Keep Hand Weights at Your Desk. Do bicep and tricep exercises while on phone calls.

Which one of the simple steps are you going to try today?

Here’s a fall treat to start your day off right:

For waffles:
1 C  whole-wheat flour
½ C  quick-cooking oats
2 tsp  baking powder
1 tsp  sugar
¼ C  unsalted pecans, chopped
2  large eggs, separated (for pancakes, see note)
1½ C  fat-free (skim) milk
1 Tbsp  vegetable oil
For fruit topping:
2 C  fresh strawberries, rinsed, stems removed, and cut in half (or substitute frozen strawberries, thawed)
1 C  fresh blackberries, rinsed (or substitute frozen blackberries, thawed)
1 C  fresh blueberries, rinsed (or substitute frozen blueberries, thawed)
1 tsp  powdered sugar


  • 1
    Preheat waffle iron.
  • 2
    Combine flour, oats, baking powder, sugar, and pecans in a large bowl.
  • 3
    Combine egg yolks, milk, and vegetable oil in a separate bowl, and mix well.
  • 4
    Add liquid mixture to the dry ingredients, and stir together.  Do not overmix; mixture should be a bit lumpy.
  • 5
    Whip egg whites to medium peaks.  Gently fold egg whites into batter (for pancakes, see note below).
  • 6
    Pour batter into preheated waffle iron, and cook until the waffle iron light signals it’s done or steam stops coming out of the iron.  (A waffle is perfect when it is crisp and well-browned on the outside with a moist, light, airy and fluffy inside.)  (Or make pancakes.)
  • 7
    Add fresh fruit and a light dusting of powdered sugar to each waffle, and serve.

Tip: For pancakes, do not separate eggs.  Mix whole eggs with milk and oil, and eliminate steps 4 and 5.

Happy Wednesday!

How are you doing with taking simple steps to a healthier you? Remember…small steps are better than no steps!

Today, let’s talk about sleep…

Did you know 1/3 of US adults report that they don’t get enough sleep?

Not getting enough sleep is a great threat to our nation’s health. Besides contributing to many chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression, not getting enough sleep can lead to motor vehicle creates and mistakes at work. (These mistakes at work cause a lot of injury and disability each year.)

Getting enough sleep isn’t a luxury~it’s a NECESSITY!

Back to the Basics

  • Be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends
  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature
  • Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smart phones, from the bedroom
  • Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime
  • Get some exercise. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.


  • Set your phone alarm an hour before you want to go to bed…and then reset it for 30 minutes prior to your desired time. It’s amazing how easy it is to do just one more thing, or watch one more TV show, or play one more game on the computer. Going to bed on time requires discipline (and for me, one of my biggest challenges.)
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. Write it out on a 3 x 5 card and refer to it every evening. Some ideas for a relaxing bedtime routine include:
    • Warm shower or bath
      • If you take a bath, try soaking in a mixture of 2 cups Epson Salt, 1/2 baking soda, 3 to 4 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
    • Listen to relaxing music
    • Reading
    • Meditation
    • Light stretching or yoga
    • Journal
    • Prepare for the next day~set out the breakfast items, set out your clothing, program the coffee maker, place the items you need the next day like your purse, keys, work name badge, lunch bag, etc by the door.
  • If you don’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed. DO NOT watch TV. Find a quiet, non-stimulating activity to do like reading, coloring, or listening to an audiobook.
  • Wash your bed sheets every week. Nothing like having clean, fresh sheets to help with a relaxing sleep.
  • Try an oil diffuser with Lavender Essential Oil.

How about you? Do you struggle with getting enough sleep? What’s your number one sleep challenge?

When it comes to healthy meals~simple wins every time! When you’re short on time, instead of stopping for fast food, swing through your grocery store and pick up a rotisserie chicken, add some fresh cut fruit and veggies, or if some frozen vegetables and you have a meal.

If you are lucky and have left overs, here are a few ideas for other meals:

Shred the leftover chicken and make quesadillas.
Add some barbeque sauce for BBQ chicken sandwiches.
Add the shredded chicken to a lettuce salad.
Mix a can of low sodium, low-fat cream of chicken soup with a half cup of skim milk, add chicken~great for sandwiches or on top of mashed potatoes.

And a few additional recipes:


  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken meat
  • 3 big pieces jarred roasted red peppers, rinsed, drained and cut lengthwise into thin strips
  • ½ medium red onion, sliced thinly
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup sliced blanched almonds, roasted
  • 2 tbsp capers, with brine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, roasted peppers, red onions, almonds, capers and parsley. Salt and pepper to taste
  2. Combine the vinegar, lemon juice, honey and mustard in a blender and blend until emulsified. Pour in with the chicken mixture; stir to coat.
  3. Serve cold and enjoy!

Recipe Source:

Rotisserie Chicken Skillet

  • 1 whole rotisserie chicken, or 3 ½ cups cooked chicken meat
  • ½ cup orzo pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups carrots cut on the bias
  • 1 cup onion cut into thick strips
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Pick the meat from the cooked chicken and roughly cut up and set aside.
  2. In a large dry skillet pan over medium high cook orzo until lightly browned; about 3 minutes stirring frequently.
  3. Remove browned orzo to a bowl and add oil to hot pan.
  4. Add carrots and onion and sauté for 4 minutes.
  5. Add orzo back in along with stock, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cover and reduce heat to a medium simmer and simmer to cook the orzo, about 8-10 minutes.
  6. Uncover and add parsley, peas, and cream along with cooked chicken.
  7. Increase heat and cook just to bring the dish to temperature and incorporate the ingredients.
  8. Serve with grated Parmesan sprinkled over the top.

Recipe Source:

Buffalo Chicken Flatbreads

  • 4 flatbreads
  • 1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1/4 cup green onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup buffalo sauce + 1 tablespoon
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup bleu cheese
  • 1/3 cup Stonyfield Plain Greek Yogurt
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Pre-bake flatbreads for 2 minutes. While the flatbreads are baking combine the shredded chicken, 1 tablespoon diced green onions, 1/4 cup buffalo sauce and minced celery stalk. Mix until well combined.
  3. Remove the flatbreads from the oven, divide the whipped cream cheese among the four flatbreads and smear on each flatbread. Divide the buffalo chicken mixture, shredded cheddar cheese, and bleu cheese among the four flatbreads evenly. Bake the flatbreads for 5 minutes or until golden brown in color.
  4. While the flatbreads are baking combine the Stonyfield Plain Greek Yogurt with 1 tablespoon of buffalo sauce. Set to the side once combined.
  5. Remove the flatbreads from the oven, cut the flatbreads, sprinkle the remaining green onions on top of the flatbread. Place the greek yogurt buffalo sauce in a baggy, cut the tip off one of the corners of the baggy and pipe the sauce on top of the flatbread. Serve immediately.