Blog Posts by SparkPeople.com

  • The Recipe that Will Turn Anyone into an Anchovy Lover

    Chef Meg's Baked Anchovy Grape CrostiniBy Chef Meg Galvin, Healthy Cooking Expert at SparkPeople.com

    Don't pass up this recipe just because it's a little fishy. As the sweet grapes, creamy cheese, and hint of salty fish hit your mouth you will fall in love with this quick and easy appetizer.

    Minutes to Prepare: 5

    Minutes to Cook: 5

    Number of Servings: 12

    Nutritional Info

    • Servings Per Recipe: 12
    • Calories: 47.9
    • Total Fat: 1.9 g
    • Cholesterol: 5.4 mg
    • Sodium: 85.5 mg
    • Total Carbs: 0.6 g
    • Dietary Fiber: 0.4 g
    • Protein: 2.3 g

    Tips

    Use white anchovies if you can find them. They're milder. No Gouda? Swap in your favorite creamy white cheese.


    Ingredients

    3-inch piece of whole-grain baguette, sliced into 12 1/4-inch slices
    6 anchovies, rinsed and patted dry
    2 ounces Gouda cheese, thinly sliced
    12 green grapes, sliced in half

    More SparkRecipes:

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  • How I'm Raising Strong Daughters

    Raising Strong DaughtersJen Mueller, for SparkPeople

    Grade school was tough for me. I got picked on a lot, mostly because I got good grades and didn't like to get in trouble. I think a lot of my insecurities as an adult began on the school playground as a 9-year-old who just wanted to fit in. Because of those experiences, I've become super-sensitive to how I'm raising my daughters. I want them to be strong young women who don't let the opinions of others determine their self-worth. I know some of that is inevitable (I see it already in preschool when my daughter gets her feelings hurt because a girl in her class doesn't want to play with her), but hopefully they will be able to avoid at least some of the negativity that I experienced so long ago.

    The other day I was flipping channels and a story on the Today Show caught my eye. It was about a new book called "The Drama Years," which tells the true stories of middle-school girls dealing with issues like self-esteem and bullying. As I listened to

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  • Think FAST to Spot a Stroke

    Think FAST When It Comes to Stroke AwarenessNancy Howard, for SparkPeople

    In October 2008 I was watching the World Series when I suddenly noticed the left side of my face becoming numb. At first I thought it was due to a new moisturizer I started using a few weeks earlier. I did not mention anything to my husband when it started, however as bedtime loomed, I remember thinking something wasn't right. The numbness became more severe, as if I had just come home from the dentist after having Novocain injected into my gums.

    As a 50-year-old registered nurse, I felt I was too young to have a stroke, after all just a few short weeks earlier I was given a clean bill of health by my physician. I had even completed a 12 mile run the day before in preparation for my second half-marathon. But something didn't seem right, so I awakened my husband and off to the hospital we went. They immediately took me back and did a thorough evaluation of my status. I was asked to smile, hold my arms out in front of me and lastly I was asked to

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  • Bedtime? but It's Still Sunny Outside, Mom!

    As summer vacation draws near and the days grow longer, bedtime becomes a struggle in many families. How do you get kids to sleep when it's still sunny outside?Every parent learns early to dread Daylight Saving Time and the longer days of summer.

    That spring forward - or the fall back, for that matter - can wreak havoc in the sleep patterns of even the most settled baby. And things get even more complicated when the baby grows into a child who can talk and argue.

    When we set our clocks ahead an hour each spring for Daylight Saving Time, the days seem to lengthen. We might get up in the dark, but the light lingers longer in the evening--and it only gets worse as the summer progresses. Bedtime comes and the sun still is up. Even your preschooler can see that. The question is inevitable.

    If it's not dark, why do I have to go to bed?

    I made the situation worse with my first child. When he was about 18 months old, he had a bad habit of getting up at 4 or 5 a.m., so we taught him "dark means sleep." This worked to keep him in bed until a decent hour - until that spring. He's a winter baby, so when springtime rolled around again, he had

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  • 14 Healthy, Delicious Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes

    14 Healthy and Delicious Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes

    By Samantha Donohue, for SparkPeople

    Using a slow cooker is like magic: pour in the ingredients, set the heat level, and then shift focus to your to do list, all the while your slow cooker does the heavy lifting. Chicken is one of my favorite ingredients to use in a slow cooker, since it's a flavorful source of lean protein and it requires little effort to cook. These are some of SparkPeople's favorite slow cooker chicken recipes.
    Slow Cooker Marinara Chicken and Vegetables (Chef Meg's Makeover)

    Chef Meg's Slow Cooker Provencal Chicken and Beans


    Slow-Cooker Salsa Chicken


    Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken


    Slow Cooker Chicken Stew


    Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup


    Crock-pot Chicken Ragu (slow cooker)


    Chicken Enchilada-Style for the Slow Cooker


    Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken (Low Soduim)


    Chicken Noodle Soup-slow cooker version


    Zesty Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken


    Slow Cooker Chicken With White Beans


    Slow Cooker Easy

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  • A Chef's Best Tips for Stress-Free Entertaining

    Be a Healthy, Happy HostessBy Chef Meg Galvin, Healthy Cooking Expert at SparkPeople.com

    I was raised in the South by a British mother, and chose a career that trains people to entertain. You would think I would have my bases covered when it comes to hosting guests, but the rules changed and it's hard to balance normal life for all the people you live with, let alone a few extras.

    Whether you're hosting a meeting for a school project, a casual BBQ with the neighbors, or a sit-down dinner for eight, the goal of entertaining is to satisfy your guests. If you are the host, be happy--you are in control! As the host you will be wearing several hats. Among them: detective, decorator, housekeeper, and, of course, cook. Don't panic and don't cancel. Entertaining--for an hour or a weekend--is easier than it seems.

    Here's what works:

    Get to know your guests before they come to your home. Any food allergies? Pet allergies? Do they eat early or late? If you do the front-end work, your guest will

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  • The Secret to Enjoying the Taste of Summer All Year

    Fresh vs. Frozen: Dos and Don'ts of Saving for the Off-Season










    By Chef Meg Galvin, Healthy Cooking Expert at SparkPeople.com

    One of the earliest lessons my parents taught me was to eat what's in season. Being from a farm family, you quickly learn that if food is not harvested at its peak it either goes rotten in the field or becomes a meal for birds, insects, or the Earth.

    That's why we eat fruits and vegetables fresh when they are in season. That means you'll eat your weight in asparagus in May, strawberries in June, pepper and corn in July, and tomatoes in August. After eating tomatoes every day for a month, you might be tired of them in late summer, but don't you long for them during the cold winter months?

    With the start of the growing season upon us, it's the perfect time to read up on storing your favorite fruits and veggies. What do I freeze, you ask?

    Strawberries: Cut off green stems and slice in half. Freeze on a sheet pan then once frozen transfer to air tight

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  • 6 Ways to Improve Your Health Today

    6 Ways to Improve Your Health TodayBy Birdie Varnedore, M.D., SparkPeople.com Resident Medical Expert and Member

    We are well into 2012 and I hope you have been successful with establishing your healthy lifestyle habits so far. If you have fallen off the wagon, today is the perfect day to recommit to your new habits. If you've been consistent with your new habits and are seeing the results, keep it up! Finally, if you have reached your goal, then congratulations! But to each and every one of you, remember that your habits must continue in order to maintain a healthy weight and to be your healthiest self.

    Some of you might like the sound of living a healthy lifestyle, but might not know where to start. Getting healthy sounds simple enough, but there are so many areas to focus on that it can become overwhelming. If you're still having trouble identifying how to get healthier, the basics are a good place to start. As a physician, wife, mother of 5, weight loss success story, and a regular person just like you,

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  • Get Fit in Just 8 Minutes

    By Nicole Nichols, Managing Editor and Fitness Expert at SparkPeople

    This short and simple cardio workout that will elevate your heart rate to burn calories and fat in just minutes!


    • Length: 8 minutes
    • Equipment: None
    • Type of Workout: Cardio (aerobic) & flexibility
    • Fitness Level: Beginner to Advanced
    • Impact: Medium impact
    • Tracking Your Workout: You'll find this video in the drop-down list of cardio exercises on your Fitness Tracker, so you can track it there (and estimate your calorie burn).
    • Safety Precautions: Wear proper footwear. Exercise at your own intensity level, using tips provided to lower your intensity if necessary. Only complete as much of the video as you can, taking a break to recover (by marching) when necessary. Never stop abruptly-if you get tired, try to stay moving--even if you're just walking in place. As you progress, try to finish the entire video or to repeat the video several times.
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  • The Health Benefits of Losing Just 10% of Your Body Weight

    The Health Benefits of Losing Just 10% of Your Body Weight.By Birdie Varnedore, M.D., SparkPeople.com Resident Medical Expert and Member

    Rather than delve into motivation or secrets of success, let's back up a bit, and ask another question: Why lose weight?

    While your reason(s) for losing weight and maintaining that weight loss are as unique as you are, there are a few reasons that many of us share. Among them: to improve one's health. I know it was on my "reasons to lose weight" list.

    If you already carry the diagnosis of an obesity-related medical condition, such as high cholesterol, hypertension or diabetes, that knowledge alone can be a great source of motivation and willpower. But, what about the relatively healthy overweight person who wants to lose weight for "health reasons," but doesn't really know yet what "better health" means? Losing weight for the sake of your health (as compared with aesthetic motivations) is a socially acceptable reason to lose weight, but other than doing the right thing, do you know why you

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