Tag Archives: enjoy life

Nancy’s Soon-to-Be Famous Accidental Chili

I’ve found a combination of ‘secret’ ingredients that make meatless soup, chili and spaghetti sauce taste, for lack of a better word, meaty. I’ve tested my recipes on diehard, meat-loving dudes and they are all shocked when they find out there’s no meat in them.

So, add this to your meal rotation and save the money for a grass-fed steak! (For more on reasons to add in meatless meals see Breakfast for Dinner.) The story explaining the name is in the recipe instructions below.

This recipe is high in protein, fiber and phytonutrients. Enjoy!

(Gluten Free)

1 Can (28oz)     Diced Organic Tomatoes
2 Cans (15oz)   Kidney Beans (I like Light Red)
1 Can (15oz)     Pinto/Black Beans
1 Can (15oz)     Pizza Sauce (I use Muir Glen Organic)
2 Med                 Onions (chopped how you like them)
2 Cloves            Garlic (crushed)
6-8 Small           Red Potatoes (quartered, unpeeled)
1 Cube               Edward & Sons Not Beef Bouillon (or a brand you prefer)
1 T                     Bragg Liquid Aminos (available either online or in the health section
of your grocery
1.5T                   Smoked Paprika  (or to taste)
3 T                     Chili Powder  (or to taste)
2 T                     Cumin  (or to taste)
1.5 T                  Coconut Oil (I use raw, organic, extra virgin)

Rinse & drain the beans, toss everything in a crockpot, cook. J I have to confess that I don’t always use a raw onion or garlic cloves. If I’m in a hurry and don’t have either, I add dried, minced onion and garlic powder. (There, I said it. Confession over.)

Okay, here’s how the accidental, fabulously delicious potato chili happened:

I was at the grocery store and googled ‘chili’ since I can never remember the ratio of tomatoes to tomato sauce or paste. I checked out three and all of them had only 1 large can of tomatoes so that’s what I bought. I got home and started adding ingredients and quickly realized that I needed another tomato product so I looked in my cabinet and the only thing I had was a can of Muir Glen Pizza Sauce. I read the ingredients and thought, “That should work. The Chili Powder and Cumin should do a good job of covering up most of the basil and oregano.”

I tossed everything in the Crockpot and cooked it several hours before dinner. I fixed myself a bowl, took a bite and realized that the bouillon cube added way too much salt … Hmmm, potatoes will absorb that, so tomorrow I’ll add some potatoes.

The next morning, I tossed it all back in the Crockpot and cubed 6-8 small red potatoes and added them. Several hours later I had the best chili I’d ever tasted … NancyO’s Accidental, Fabulously Delicious Potato Chili! But you don’t have to believe me. I demonstrate this in my cooking classes while the students eat some that’s already cooked. This is what I hear:

“OMG – the chili was AWESOME! … That is a recipe my meat-eating hubby would like too!”

“This chili is really amazing!”

“I can’t believe there’s no meat in this. It’s delicious!”

I hope you get a chance to try this because it is really good and the perfect answer to Meatless Meals!

Nancy Oglesby, The Practical Health Coach

Just a quick disclaimer: I make a small amount if you purchase from the links I provide. However, primarily I add links because it allows you to know exactly what product I’m talking about when I identify brands that I like and use.


Breakfast for Dinner?

Breakfast for Dinner?

Research overwhelmingly shows that a plant-based diet is the best choice in reducing and preventing chronic disease. In some cases, it can totally reverse existing disease. Being the Practical Health Coach, I understand that few of my clients, or their families, are willing to make the choice to eliminate meat from their diets, so my approach is to encourage and support them in reducing their reliance on meat-centered meals.

One popular suggestion is to have breakfast for dinner. Not only can breakfast be prepared quite easily and quickly, the ingredients are often inexpensive, and done properly can be quite healthy. Hearty cooked breakfasts bring back memories of relaxing weekend mornings or spending the night at Grandma’s … A nice way to ease some of the stress from a busy day!

My favorite is what I call a Scrambled Egg Omelet, fried potatoes

Photo by Jeremy Keith

Photo by Jeremy Keith

and fresh fruit. To make the omelet I caramelize onions, add in broccoli, snow peas, mushrooms and spinach (broccoli first as it takes a bit longer to cook). While they’re cooking, I whip up the eggs. After the veggies are cooked to the point that I like, I add the whipped eggs and stir until cooked. Season to taste and serve.

I cook thin sliced gold or red potatoes in a very small amount of coconut oil, over medium heat until browned on one side, then turn to brown on the other side.

Sometimes I cut and mix several fruits but if I’m in a hurry I slice and serve just one. If I’ve planned this out, I might have stopped at the salad bar or the veggies and fruit, then prep is simple! (See Get Yourself a Prep Cook)

If someone has to have bacon, or breakfast just doesn’t taste right without the smell of bacon cooking, crumble a half slice onto the top of their serving of either the omelet or the potatoes. (Buy nitrite/nitrate free bacon either from or Whole Foods or similar source near you.)

This is an inexpensive way to reduce your meal costs allowing you to use that money to buy a better, grass-fed, organic meat.

Next up: A meatless chili that leave no one asking, “Where’s the beef?”

Nancy Oglesby, The Practical Health Coach

Just a quick disclaimer: I make a small amount if you purchase from the links I provide. However, primarily I add links because it allows you to know exactly what product I’m talking about when I identify brands that I like and use.

7 Ways to Have Happy Dogs

In a word: Kongs. Kongs make dogs happy. They probably don’t care much what you fill them with as long as it’s tasty, but here are some of my favorite ways to add happiness to my pets’ day:

  1. www.healthworkskc.wordpress.com

    Mikey the Wonder Dog (left) and his new, baby sister Piper (10 months old).

    SWEET POTATOES Put scrubbed sweet potatoes in your crockpot. Add nothing else. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4 hours. Trust me. They are incredible. (My faves are the small ones at Trader Joe’s.)
    Refrigerate, take one out and smash it into the Kong. You can add bits of green beans, apple and/or carrots, or biscuits. You can also feed it right away or freeze it for a treat that takes them a long time to get through. (Great for a summer treat!)

  2. APPLESAUCE My dogs love, love, love applesauce! Make sure you buy unsweetened so that you’re not feeding your dogs a lot of sugar. I give it to them on a spoon while I’m making their Kongs in the morning, but I also add it to their Kong. It’s an especially nice frozen treat in the summer, but mine love it anytime. I suggest having a jar just for the dogs. That way you won’t have to use a new spoon every time you give them a taste.
  3. CHICKEN BROTH Plug the bottom hole of the Kong with peanut butter or freeze a small amount of applesauce or sweet potato in the bottom, then pour in cold chicken broth and freeze. This is the summer treat of choice at my house!
  4. CHICKEN & RICE This one is a bit of work, but well worth it in the end. Save the scraps from rotisserie chickens, or any chicken that you have for meals, in a bag in the freezer. When you have a sufficient quantity, throw it in the crockpot with several cups of water (you’ll also get a good amount of broth), cook on low for the day or overnight. Once cooked and
    Fast Friends!

    Fast Friends!

    cooled, take the meat off the bones, carefully, and the skin (great for your dog’s coat) and along with some cooked white rice, process in your food processor. Turn into a 9×13 pan and let it set up in the refrigerator. After it’s chilled, use an ice cream scoop and drop on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and freeze. Once frozen, put into a freezer bag to store. I take out one ball each morning, thaw and fill.  (I never measure when I make this. If my blended product isn’t thick enough I add puffed rice cereal to the desired thickness.) This is a great way to have a great filling for free!

  5. OATMEAL Someone didn’t finish their oatmeal? Toss it into the Kong! This is an especially nice treat when some apple is included, and works well for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
  6. EGGS Another treat is eggs. They are a good source of protein and are typically well-tolerated. Don’t think you’re doing your dog’s waistline a favor by not using the yolk. Egg whites alone can cause vitamin deficiencies in dogs.
  7. WALK with your dog. I cannot stress how important this is. Try it for a couple of weeks and you will be surprised at the deepening of your relationship. And, they can eat tasty Kong treats because they’re working hard
  8. APPLESAUCE DROPS Talk about an overachiever! The eighth of the seven ways is another food treat. Little frozen applesauce drops. They’re kind of like Hershey’s kisses, but good for the dog!
  9. BABY FOOD I know … Nine? If you don’t want to go through the steps above, just buy baby food and use that. You can fill Kongs and make tasty frozen drops with good quality baby food.
  10. ALL OF THE ABOVE! What my dogs really love is when I mix up several of the above foods. I take a spoon of sweet potato, one of applesauce and one of chicken & rice.  I tuck pieces of green beans and carrots in and they are in heaven! I got started with the green beans when my garden had some pretty tough beans. Guess what? The dogs didn’t care. They liked them just fine.
Piper's first day home!

Piper’s first day home!

The bottom line here is that there are many human foods that dogs tolerate quite well. When you decide to make a change to your dog’s diet, check with your vet to make sure it’s safe for your particular pet.

It was my goal to feed my dogs healthy treats. It seems to be working. Most people see my almost 12-year-old Standard Schnauzer  and think he’s about 4 years old!

5 Freezer Hacks to Save Money

My freezer isn't always this organized. It's often totally out of control! Here we have some different gluten-free, vegan burgers, homemade broth, chili, pumpkin, green beans and a loaf of gf bread.

My freezer isn’t always this organized. It’s often totally out of control! Here we have some different gluten-free, vegan burgers, homemade broth, chili, pumpkin, green beans and a loaf of gf bread.

This is going to be short and sweet: Freeze Everything!

Okay, maybe not quite everything, but if you’re like me, there’s often a banana that’s about to go bad, oranges that you can’t possible eat in time or you can’t take advantage of the sale on grapes because there’s no way you can use them soon enough. Maybe you bought that bag of kale with good intentions, but the intentions didn’t follow you home from the store.

How many times do you end up throwing away produce? If you’re like I was, it’s a lot. What you buy will have a better chance of staying out of the the landfill when you begin to rely on your freezer. Here are five ways to get started:

  1. Buy a bag of already washed and chopped kale, and if you only use it in cooked dishes and/or smoothies, just toss it right in the freezer when you get home. This works for spinach as well. (It doesn’t work at all if you’re going to eat it in a salad or raw since when defrosted it gets pretty mushy.)
  2. Cookie sheet magic happens with most fruits and veggies that you want to use for smoothies or in cooked dishes. Are your bananas looking a bit beyond their deliciousness? Slice, lay out on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and slide in the freezer. When they’ve frozen, put them in a freezer bag. This works for apples (which don’t turn brown when cut up and frozen), peaches, cherries, orange sections, grapes, strawberries, mango, melon, celery, onion, garlic, ginger, peppers, snow peas, green beans … Well, just about anything! These won’t be good for eating thawed out, but they’re great for purees, smoothies, syrups, stir fries, soups and stews. You can even add frozen fruit to beverages for a pop of color.
  3. If you haven’t already tried it, eat grapes and cherries frozen. It takes you longer to eat them (reduced sugar intake) and they taste great!
  4. A treat with frozen bananas is to dip them in melted, dark chocolate (70% or higher) and refreeze … good for your health and fabulous for that chocolate craving! (Eat frozen)
  5. Can’t possibly go through a loaf of bread in time? Open the bag, fan out the slices, set in the freezer. Once frozen, put the loaf back together and seal the bag. You won’t have to jackhammer the pieces apart ever again!
Bags of kale and spinach, an ice cube tray of chicken broth, jars of soup, and fresh frozen basil ... handy!

Bags of kale and spinach, an ice cube tray of chicken broth, jars of soup, and fresh frozen basil … handy!

There you have it … Tips to help your budget, your health and the landfill!

If you’re in the Kansas City area, check out my upcoming events. They can be found on my website’s Events Page.

Nancy Oglesby, The Practical Health Coach

How Do I Profit?

I am reading the book Overcoming Underearning by Barbara Stanny (highly recommend!). It’s about uncovering the hidden messages you have about money and learning strategies to overcome them. But, it is so much more!

She has a section dealing with making the decision that money is your top priority … known as a profit motive. A couple of days after reading that section I was putting together a presentation and so much of what she wrote about money is dead on when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle!

It’s true of relationships, spirituality, career, education, parenting … If you commit to creating positive change in any area of your life you can use the profit motive theory to stay on track: Ask yourself, “will my decision to ______________ (get fit and toned/be a better parent/improve my marriage/enhance my career) profit from this choice?”

Focus on becoming aware that everything you do involves a choice and that by making a decision about what you want in each area of your life, allows you to direct your choices accordingly. You can choose to get up early, write in your journal, meditate, get to work on time, take a class, enhance your relationships, workout, cook a healthy meal, etc. Your profit motive is clear once you make a decision and commit.

So, I challenge you to make the decision to develop a profit motive for those aspects of your life where you’d like to see change. Do you want to get fit and toned? Then ask yourself if you’ll profit from sitting down, flipping on the television and eating that bowl of ice cream. If you’ve committed to fitness then better choices will come to mind like, “If I get up and move and/or choose a healthy snack like fruit and nuts I will be supporting my profit motive!”

Take a deep breath and make a decision to live the life YOU want!

Healthy & Fit Over 50 Happiness Tip #2

Good relationships are critical to your mental well-being, and it’s important to realize that not all relationships fit into that category.

I had a friend who would call up and just start right in on how miserable life was. Before the phone call I would be in a peaceful and contented place and then all of a sudden I was being harangued by misery without even a hello-how-are-you moment. I could feel my blood pressure rise!

One day my sister overheard my end of the conversation (me trying to instill, for the millionth time, some calm and practicality into the friend’s otherwise drama-laden life) and after I got off the phone she asked, “Why are you friends with that person?” Great question!

About a month or two later, after seriously mulling over the pros and cons, I walked away and haven’t looked back with regret once.

I don’t suggest ending a relationship without giving it the thought it deserves, but if a friendship is toxic, then it either has to change or you need to walk away. Your health depends on it!


Healthy & Fit Over 50 Movement Tip #2

I love a quote from Ellen DeGeneres, “My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the heck she is.”

I love it because I started walking around the block when I was 59 or 60 and before I knew it I was walking two miles a day, easy. This past spring and summer I averaged five miles a day.

It is always easy for me to step out the front door. Not only do I have to take Mikey, The Wonder Dog for his walk but, I give myself permission to just walk around the block. That’s what works for me: a pesky pup and optional laziness. If I were to tell myself, “Time to go walk three miles,” I know there would be many days that I’d say, “I do NOT feel like walking three miles. I’ll just stay home today.” Instead, I averaged five miles a day!