Gettin’ Fishy With It

September 25, 2013

Want to incorporate more fish into your diet but not sure how to prepare it?

Try this Easy Fish recipe:


1 piece of fish

1 piece of foil

drizzle of olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt & pepper to taste

Pinch of oregano


Fish Foils ready for the oven


  1. Fold foil into a pocket so no air escapes.
  2. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
  3. Fish is done when it is firm to the touch and opaque in the center.

Works great for tilapia or salmon! Or really any fish you like.


Yummy Fish Fresh Outta the Oven

I heard something very interesting at a Weight Watchers meeting many moons ago – “You will lose more weight from Labor Day till Christmas than any other time of year.”  There’s something about Labor Day and “Back to School” fever that really gets people motivated to get on top of things.  I find myself wanted to clear out closets and get my apartment as tidy as can be knowing the long cold winter months are upon us and I’m going to be spending more time at home.  It’s also the time of year when I usually return to the gym (although this year I was pretty good at keeping it up during the summer).
Today I walked with my son to the gym rather the take the bus, and the weather was just lovely.  Sunny, yet still cool, breezy, but not bone chilling.  It was the kind of day that reminds you of going back to school and the excitement and nerves that goes along with it.  I took in a deep breath of the crisp air and I thought, “This is wonderful.” Don’t get me wrong, I love summer and I am always sad when it ends.  But I also loved going back to school.  I wanted to start shopping for new school supplies in July.  Even though this year I’m celebrate being done with school for 10 years (!), days like today still make me long for that excitement of a new year ahead.
Perhaps the Jewish religion has it right – Rosh Hashana was in early September this year and that marks the new year of the Jewish calendar.  Because for many of us, as I learned in Weight Watchers a long time ago, THIS is the time to make new years resolutions.  This is the window of opportunity to get on top of all the healthy habits we want to put in place because we have the seasons on our side.  The fall air just gives you motivation, because we are all trained from 12+ years of school that this is the time to get serious about things.  I am going to take advantage of this opportunity NOW and make sure my healthy habits that may have gone askew during the lax days of summer get back on track because in January, I don’t want to feel worse than I do now – I want to feel better.  Plus, let’s face it January and February are some of the most depressing months in the 12 month calendar because the sun goes down super early and the weather is abysmal.  It’s way harder to get up early in January to get to the gym than it is now! In January you will just want more blankets and a hot latte in bed, not 30 minutes on the treadmill. Believe me!
To help you meet and exceed your goals I’ve put together a group program simply called, “Feel Great Now” through my health coaching practice, The Family Plate.  If you aren’t local to Brooklyn but are interested in health coaching to help you find your optimal health, contact me.  Through the wonders of Skype and phone we can have a high impact 6 month program!

Why wait for January to make resolutions – FEEL GREAT NOW! 

During this program you will learn to:

  • Feel great in your own skin again by learning to eat healthy foods that fit into your busy lifestyle and naturally balance your body
  • Boost your energy with foods and activities that are best suited for your personal needs
  • Set and achieve specific, sustainable diet and lifestyle changes
  • Enjoy emotional support from a group of like-minded women who are on a similar journey
  • You’ll NEVER have to count calories, or worry about carbs, fats and proteins! Instead of creating list of restrictions of good and bad foods – You will have a happy and healthy life in a way that is flexible, fun and free of denial and discipline.

3 Month Program Structure:

  • Two 75 minute group sessions per month, 6 total
  • 2 private sessions with Marie for your personal development
  • Free email support between sessions
  • Access to a private online community where only group members can connect and share with each other
  • Simple yet informative handouts and materials tailored to your specific nutritional needs
  • My personal commitment to your health & wellness

Cost & Discounts:

  • $125/month ($375 total)
  • 10% Discount if paid in full up front before first session
  • We accept cash, check or credit card for payment
  • Upon completion of group, special discounts available to clients who want to transition to private coaching with Marie

ENROLL NOW! Space is limited!

Email: with name, address and phone to get started.

Group Specifics:

Beginning 10/12, Alternating Saturdays from 10:30am-11:45am

Dates: 10/12, 10/26, 11/9, 12/7, 12/21, 1/4

Convenient Carroll Gardens location 

Private sessions to be week of 10/12 and 11/16

– See more at: Group Program

This Girl is on Fire!

September 18, 2013

What a lovely fridge!

What a lovely fridge!

Here it is – the long awaited Family Plate newsletter!!

It includes one new recipe, information on my new group program, and much much more!

Please check it out and subscribe to stay up to date!

Cookin’ it, Old School

September 16, 2013

Remember back in the day when mom or grandma would spend Sundays at the stove making delicious homemade food for an early 3pm dinner?  The smell of onions and garlic sauteing in a large pot with a drizzle of olive oil.  The cans of tomatoes lined up like soldiers waiting to be poured into the pot and turned into a velvety tomato sauce for pasta. Perfectly formed meatballs sizzling away in a frying pan ready to be dunked in the sauce and turned into little balls of heaven.  Those are some of my memories of being at my grandma’s house on a Sunday.  We (being Italian-American) always had pasta with sauce on a Sunday.  There was usually a little salad to go with it and white wine for the adults.  I used to ask to “taste-test” a meatball, to make sure there were good.  My grandma always gave me one ahead of dinner, usually with a crust of Italian bread to dip in the extra sauce. It was a wonderful routine.  Sauce, bread, meatballs, getting a piece before everyone else – it was heavenly!

Marie and her Grandma Marie, 1981

Marie and her Grandma Marie, 1981

My grandma is cooking sauce and pasta up in heaven now, so I don’t get to scam early meatballs from her anymore.  I do have to put dinner on the table for my own family every night (not just Sundays) and I think a lot about the traditions that I grew up with and how different things are now.  My grandma was retired and had all day to cook, whereas now most of us moms are working out of the home and have so much more to juggle.

Marie and Grandma Mary, late 90's

Marie and Grandma Mary, late 90’s

To make sure the weeknights are about healthy eating and not ordering Chinese food, I earmark a few hours on Sunday afternoon to get some cooking done.  This allows me to simply re-heat and eat during the week when things are crazy as we are coming home from work and picking up my little one from daycare.  It’s the only way I can get a home cooked meal on the table 5 nights a week.  My strategy every week is to make 3 different meals that we can have for dinner and/or lunch and that usually gets us through 4 days.  Since we are a small family of 2 adults and 1 toddler, usually making meals for a family of four lasts us for 2 meals, at least.  Then I plan one meal that I will make and serve on the same night.  That could be a crock pot dish (that I can leave cooking during the day) or something that is a 30 minute meal.

So now, on Sundays I’m cooking like a whirling dervish in my tiny kitchen to make sure our fridge is stuffed with healthy food.  It’s a far cry from my grandma slowly cooking a tomato sauce all day, but its our ritual and it works for us.  Once the weather gets colder, I’ll definitely be making more one-pot dishes like soups and stews (and tomato sauce) that will give my home the aroma of onions, celery and carrots simmering away.  Until then, this is my strategy.

Marie’s 5 Easy Tips on How to Fill Your Fridge with Healthy Food

1) Plan to cook 3 make ahead meals for the week.  

I usually pick one beef dish, one chicken and one vegetarian meal.  We normally eat Meatless on Mondays, so I cook the vegetarian meal for that and also for lunch leftovers.

To make the most use of my small kitchen I plan to make one dish in the slow cooker, one in the oven and one on the stove top.  That way I am truly cooking 3 things at once.  One of my favorite make ahead meals for the week is Organic Chicken and Brown Rice that only takes one pot to cook.

2) Decide on what snacks you will want and pre-make and portion those out

I like to make a bunch of hard boiled eggs for snacks and I even peel them so they are ready-to-eat, even on the go.  I put one egg in a small reusable container so they are portioned out and I can thrown one in a lunch bag every morning without thinking.

My other favorite snack is trail mix or plain nuts.  I also portion that out ahead of time into reusable containers so that I don’t overeat it.

3) Have salad ingredients on hand

We eat salad with lunch and also with dinner.  To jazz up a regular bag o’ salad, I add cucumber slices, orange and yellow peppers and red onion.  I dice all these vegetables on Sunday and keep them in a separate container.  Then when it’s time to serve salad I just combine them with lettuce and dressing – voila!  Bags of salad also keep in the fridge very well, so its great to have on hand in case you run out of make ahead meals.  You can always top a salad with a can of tuna and have a new meal!

4) Find one meal (usually one you can make without a recipe) to cook fresh during the week 

Even the most diligent of us will get tired of re-heating and eating, so plan one night where your after work/school activities are light to make a fresh meal.  For me, this is usually the night we have pasta or baked chicken.  Always aim for easy recipes that you know by heart (for the most part) so that this one meal a week is a joy and doesn’t stress you out.

5) Don’t forget about breakfast!  

Think through what you’ll need to make sure breakfast is part of the equation as well.  For breakfast we normally do smoothies or juices because they are so fresh and easy.  I bought reusable cups and disposable straws so that we can put juices in the cups and drink them on our way to work. The straws are sometimes a pain to clean, so I throw those out but reuse my cups.  If you like to have eggs in the morning there are some great recipes out there for make ahead quiches or egg muffins.  This time of year you could also enjoy a pumpkin oatmeal for breakfast that is make ahead and no-cook!

If this seems a bit overwhelming at first, I understand.  With my health coaching clients, I always tell them to pick the low-hanging fruit first.  Whichever of these rules seems the easiest to incorporate into your daily like, choose that!  Do that one for a week or two, get the habit down-pat and then add in another rule.  The other piece of advice is that you know your family best, so modify these accordingly to suit your needs.  The idea is not about following rules but about making your life easier.

What make-ahead meals do you like to make?  Please let me know in the comment section.

Who’s the Big Winner?

September 11, 2013

FREE STUFF! Come on, you know you want to be the big winner! ONLY 3 DAYS LEFT TO ENTER!

Vince Vaughn, in Swingers

Vince Vaughn, in Swingers

Everyone who signs up for our “The Family Plate” newsletter this week is enrolled to win a free juicer! Make your own delicious juices at home and feel like you are running on jet fuel!

Winner announced Sept 14!


Juicing is fun, family friendly and gives you great nutrition from every day fruits and vegetables!  Read my article on Juicing vs. Smoothies here.

Looking forward to picking a winner this Saturday!



Win a FREE Juicer!

September 4, 2013

Marie's Green Juice

Marie’s Green Juice

Everyone who signs up for our “The Family Plate” newsletter this week is enrolled to win a free juicer! Make your own delicious juices at home and feel like you are running jet fuel! Winner announced Sept 14!


Juicing is fun, family friendly and gives you great nutrition from every day fruits and vegetables!  Read my article on Juicing vs. Smoothies here.

Summer lovin’

September 3, 2013

Well, summer’s over.  So long Summer ’13.  Hell,o Fall.  It’s still a tough transition, even after being out of school for *gasp* 10 years!

I always say, when all else fails, cook something! A homemade dish on the stove top brings me so much joy to prepare and to eat.  I love knowing I can find ingredients in the kitchen and whip something up that’s healthy and delicious for my family.  It’s so much more satisfying than ordering from Seamlessweb or dialing up Chinese food.  Because I made it, I know what’s in it (and what’s not in it – added sugar, fat and salt) and I love to try new things in the kitchen, to find new combinations of delicious ingredients.  It’s like the first time I tried mustard on a tuna fish salad sandwich – my whole world was turned upside down!  How are these ingredients such a delight together? I never would have known!

Well since its officially September, I think it’s “Time to make the chili”! I usually refrain from chili during the summer, although it is a favorite of my 2 year old. Chili just conjures up thoughts of cold nights usually for me. But when I think about the ingredients (turkey chili, salsa, and black beans) they seem light enough for warmer weather, especially now that it is September. Though today it was so hot, that I was longing for the fall weather we had at the end of July. Where is the crisp fall air? because this humidity is killing me and giving me a ‘fro simultaneously.  Not pretty.

For this impromptu chili,  I’m using this chili seasoning that my dad bought me.

Mel's Drive In Chili Seasoning

Mel’s Drive In Chili Seasoning


I’ve never used it before, but it smells great while its cooking on the stove! I also added a secret ingredient to this batch of chili- red wine!  Just a few splashes while the turkey was cooking and it gave it a really nice complexity of flavor.  Even boring old chili can take on a new life with the addition of a new ingredient. One of my issues with making turkey chili in the past is that you sacrifice flavor for the lower fat content. I think the red wine gave this turkey chili back it’s flavor! This is one my husband will like for sure.  I’m serving it on top of brown rice and with a salad on the side.  Looking forward to digging in tonight!

Turkey Chili, with black beans and salsa simmering away

Turkey Chili, with black beans and salsa simmering away


Happy Labor Day weekend!  It’s hard to believe that summer is coming to an end.  It was a wonderful summer filled with trips out of town, days at the beach and for me, finally breaking through my personal weight loss plateau!  Woohoo!

One thing I love to do in the warm weather is cool off  with smoothies AND juices rather than going for ice cream or milkshakes! I love to start the day this way.  Some of my clients were asking me recently what the differences were between blending smoothies and juicing.

Marie's Green Juice

Marie’s Green Juice


It also happens, that I’ve been invited to join the staff of as a health and nutrition contributor.   So I thought that my first article should tackle the subject of Juices vs. Smoothies head-on. describes themselves as having a “passion to connect people to all things endurance sport and fitness related.”  Of course those running races and cycling need great nutrition and health information so they can achieve their fitness goals – that’s where I come in!  I’ll be doing monthly articles on various topics from a health and nutrition point of view. For September I’m writing on article on simple steps to healthier eating, which we could all use after the excesses of summer, amiright?

Please check out my article for the verdict on Juices vs. Smoothies and for 2 new recipes! Enjoy one more day of this lovely 3 day weekend! Click here to read the article

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