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Vegetarian Cassoulet

This recipe is from SMITTEN KITCHEN

A hearty fall dish

Serves 4-6

Ingredients from Vegetarian Cassoulet:

  • 3 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only)
  • 4 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch-wide pieces
  • 3 celery ribs, cut into 1-inch-wide pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 parsley sprigs
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 3 cans cannellini beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, with their juice
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 quart stock

For garlic crumbs:

  • 4 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs from a baguette
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley


Halve leeks lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces, then wash well and pat dry.

Cook leeks, carrots, celery, and garlic in oil with herb sprigs, bay leaf, cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, then stock, and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender but not falling apart, about 30 minutes.

Make garlic crumbs while cassoulet simmers:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Toss bread crumbs with oil, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a bowl until well coated. Spread in a baking pan and toast in oven, stirring once halfway through, until crisp and golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool crumbs in pan, then return to bowl and stir in parsley.

Finish the Vegetarian cassoulet:

Discard herb sprigs and bay leaf. Mash some of beans in pot with a potato masher or back of a spoon to thicken broth. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, sprinkle with garlic crumbs.


Vegetable Salad with Black Beans

End of summer vegetable salad with black beansVegetable Salad with Black Beans

serves 4-6

This Loaded Summer Vegetable and Black Bean Salad is a perfect way to use all that fresh summer produce that needs to be eaten!  It’s great as a side dish or with chips!

Ingredients for Vegetable Salad with Black Beans

  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 small summer squash, diced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans,
  • 1 cup cooked corn kernels
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 small orange bell pepper, diced                  Vegetable Salad with Black Beans
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium avocado, pitted and diced
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1 large handful fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper

Directions for Vegetable Salad with Black Beans

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 teaspoon olive oil and diced zucchini and summer squash.  Season with salt and pepper and cook until tender and browning, 10 minutes.  Let cool for about 5-7 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl add the cooled zucchini and squash, black beans, corn and all the remaining veggies.
  3. Top with 2 teaspoons olive oil, lime juice, cumin, chili powder and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix until everything is combined.  Enjoy with as a dip for chips or as a side dish!

If you’re making this salad ahead of time, wait until serving to add the avocado.  Salad will stay good in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Latest News from Charmaine: September 2018

Greetings all,April 2018

Well, routines are being established again and the fall weather is approaching.  Grand Ledge holds its annual Color Cruise event October 11-14th and, I don’t know about you’ but our social schedules are filling up fast.

What with Quilting (and helping a friend or two to make a quilt) yoga, powerlifting, Zumba and office stuff, I find myself running out of time.

One thing I have really mastered is the idea of doubling up on my cooking so that I can have meals at the ready for the crazy days. I believe if you are cutting 1 onion you might as well do 2 (cuts down on stinky hands)!  I also saw a tip recently, where the author suggested doubling a chili slow cooker recipe and bagging half the ingredients (uncooked) and freezing that for later…genius!!!

Chiropractically, I love that everybody is doing the weekend warrior stuff and getting involved in sports. If I may suggest, please make a point of getting checked regularly to make sure you and yours are in good health to enjoy the wonderful fall ahead of us to the max!

See you in the office, on the table, on the mat or under the barbells.

Couldn’t refuse this giggle…

I had some words with my wife, and she had some paragraphs with me. – Sigmund Freud

Marinated Slow Roasted Onions

Marinated Slow Roasted Onionsmarinated onions

Serves 8


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary chopped
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • pinch red pepper flakes optional
  • 4 large white or yellow onions (See Note 1)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary chopped
  1. Blend marinade ingredients in small bowl and pour into a baking dish that will hold all 8 onion halves. I use 8×8″ baking pan or round 12″ baking stone (pictured) depending on size of onion.
  2. Trim the end of onions and cut horizontal (leaving skin on) and place wide side down in marinade. Marinate overnight covered in refrigerator.
  3. Preheat oven to 400°F. Flip the onions over in the marinade, and lay on the flat bottom of each side. Top each onion with 1/2 tablespoon of butter and remaining teaspoon of rosemary.
  4. Roast in oven for 1 hour or until golden brown, basting once or twice during roasting. Remove from heat, spoon reduced sauce over and sprinkle with parsley or more fresh chopped rosemary. Remove from skins and serve.

Recipe Notes

  1. Trims ends off onions, slice in half horizontally, keeping the skin on to hold shape and protect the outside as it later roasts.

Onion Patties (an alternative to onion rings)


3/4 cup flour                                     1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon cornmeal                     2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons salt                                3/4 cup milk

2 1/2 cups chopped onions (about 2 small onions)

oil for frying

In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients, then add milk and stir. This will give you a thick batter.    Add onions and mix until well blended.

Heat 1/2 inch oil in skillet over medium high heat. Drop batter by tablespoons into the hot oil.     Flatten with the back of a spatula, then brown on both sides until crispy, golden brown.   Drain on paper towel, sprinkle salt to taste.

Pro Tip: You can make these even more craveworthy by adding in :1/4 cup green pepper, 1/4 cup cooked mushroom, or sprinkle cheddar on top after you’ve finished cooking. So. Delicious.

The Negative Health Effects of Heavy Backpacks, And How Your Kids Can Avoid Them

This article originally appeared on The Active Times by Katie Rosenbrock.backbacks

Back to school means back to the books, which is great for kids’ brains, but not so much for their backs.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a child’s backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of their weight, but often this limit is exceeded, and it could certainly lead to strain and even injury.

There are several research studies showing the long-term effects of carrying a heavy backpack.

Wearing a heavy backpack for prolonged periods may cause excessive strain in one’s neck, back and shoulders. Over time, muscles may fatigue, and the wearer may fall into poor posture, which may lead to muscle imbalances, which, if long-term, may cause increased risk of injury.

Additionally, children who wear heavy backpacks have a tendency to lean forward to support the weight, which further implicates their posture. Plus, for small children, heavy backpacks increase their risk of falling.

Clearly there are a handful of risks involved with bearing the brunt of a backpack that’s just too heavy for a kid to handle, yet a 2002 study out of Texas found that most parents (about 96 percent) don’t inspect the weight of their kid’s backpacks.

Determining an Appropriate Backpack Weight and Avoiding Back Painbackbacks

The AAP recommends a child’s backpack weigh no more than 10 to 20 percent of their body weight, but according to The New York Times, a recent survey from Consumer Reports suggests aiming for the lower, 10-percent end of that spectrum. Quinn agrees.

Also worth noting, that same report found girls and shorter children may be most at risk for back pain resulting from heavy backpacks, so for smaller-statured kids, it’s especially important to find a backpack that fits well.

It’s important to make sure the straps are wide, padded and adjustable, so the backpack fits the child well

The backpack should be close to the body and should not hang too far below the waist. The best advice for older kids is to wear the straps on both shoulders and evenly distribute the items in the backpack.”

The risk for injury increases, Quinn explains, when the backpack is worn over one shoulder or when most of the items are packed to one side, which often causes the carrier to shift or bend to the side to bear the weight.

She emphasized the importance of carrying the backpack with both straps to distribute the weight evenly over both shoulders.

Removing unnecessary items from the backpack daily is also key..

Relieving Neck and Shoulder Strainbackpacks

Prevention is of utmost importance, but for kids who are already experiencing strain in their necks, shoulders and backs due to a heavy backpack, Quinn offers a few restorative stretches and exercises that may help.

“Heavy backpacks may cause the wearer to bend forward, causing increased strain on the lower back,” she explains. “It may cause a forward head and rounded shoulder posture, which may result in tight pectoralis muscles and excessive strain on the cervical spine (neck). Pec and upper-trap stretches may improve the flexibility of these muscles and prevent long-term postural deficits.”

As chiropractors we cannot stress how important it is that back packs are worn correctly, as well as carried correctly.   We can always check that your child pack is correct for them if you bring them into the office.  Let’s catch problems before they develop.  Dr C

Latest News from Charmaine: August 2018

Greetings all,April 2018

Well, with our kids going back to school, comes the obvious signs that fall is just around the corner and somewhat cooler temperatures, we might hope.  Quite honestly, much as I might gripe about the heat, I honestly do not believe we here in Michigan have much to complain about when you see what is happening in the rest of the country, what with floods and fires and crazy hot temperatures.  As Dr. Ray is wont to say “another day in Paradise” and I have to agree with him.  There is enough variety to make it interesting, and few, if any, major catastrophes.

I have just completed my 4th Senior Olympics in power lifting and have my sights set on competing in States in December…another day, another goal.

So, with the kids going back to school—- I have enclosed an article on Backpack safety and also some”fallish”  recipes as the cooler weather settles in.

See you in the office, on the table, on the mat or under the barbells!

Greek Quinoa Salad

Another great SUMMER Salad!Greek Quinoa Salad

  • 1 cup of quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 cup olives (I used a green/black mix)
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped fine
  • 2 ounces low fat feta
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  1. Place vegetable broth and quinoa in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil. Boil uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain in a fine metal colander.
  2. Rinse pot and bring two inches of water to a boil. Place quinoa in the metal colander over the water. Cover and steam for 10 minutes.
  3. While quinoa is steaming, combine chopped spinach, tomato and lemon zest in a small boil.
  4. When quinoa is cooked, drain the water. Rinse the pot and return the quinoa to it. Add the spinach mixture and cover. Allow to sit covered for 5 minutes or until spinach wilts.
  5. Add parsley and feta.
  6. In a small bowl, combine 1 T olive oil, 1 T balsamic vinegar and garlic. Toss with salad

Where do vegans get their protein?

So as a Vegan/Vegetarian we get this questions all the time…where do you get your protein??…. so here we go… By Lauren Venosta

Vegans don’t consume any products that come from an animal-based source. All macronutrients like protein, vegan protein carbohydrates, and fat are only consumed through plant-based sources—which can make it challenging to get enough protein.

A common question many vegans are asked is, “How do you get enough protein?” Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to get adequate amounts of protein on a vegan diet.

The  important thing to note about plant-based protein sources is that they are more bioavailable to the body. This means that the amino acids (which make up the proteins) are more easily broken down and absorbed by the body. Remember, you aren’t only what you eat, but you are what you absorb! If your body can’t absorb the protein you’re eating, it is useless.

If you’re a vegan or are interested in following a plant-based diet, these foods pack a plant-based protein punch!

  1. Spirulina     Spirulina is a blue-green algae that contains the essential amino acidsrequired for protein assimilation. It’s rich in chlorophyll, which you can see by the dark green color. 8.05 g of protein per 2 tablespoons
  1. Lentils    These edible pulses are a powerhouse of protein, fiber, and iron. Lentils are an easy way to get plant-based protein because they are easily digested and are a versatile ingredient. 17.86 g of protein per cup of cooked lentils
  1. Pea Protein   Green peas contain adequate levels of protein in their raw form (9 g per 1/4 cup), and pea protein is a popular alternative to the whey protein or egg-white protein that are commonly used in protein powders. 21 g of protein per 1/4 cup
  1. Chickpeas Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are meaty and filling. 14.53 g of protein per cup of cooked chickpeas
  1. Nutritional Yeast   Nutritional yeast, a food additive grown on molasses and treated to be “inactive” (as compared to “active” baking yeast), is known for adding a “cheesy” flavor to many dairy-free recipes. The flavor is amazing, but its nutrient profile is even better! It’s loaded with amino acids and B vitamins. Amino acids are essential for protein synthesis and B vitamins help covert the food you eat into useable fuel for the body. 8 g of protein per 1/4 cup
  1. Quinoa   Did you know that quinoa is a seed? Although it mimics a grain-based texture and cooks similar to rice, it is 100 percent seed. And that means it has more protein than many grains! 8.14 g of protein per 1 cup of cooked quinoa
  1. Almonds  A study showedthat eating 1.5 ounces of almonds per day can lower your cholesterol, keep your heart healthy, and even reduce belly fat!  15.12 g of protein per 1/2 cup
  1. Chia Seeds   In addition to their protein benefit, chia seeds are loaded with so much fiber they can actually absorb 10 to 12 times their size in water. This allows them to create a gel-like consistency and expand in your stomach, which keeps you fuller longer and improves digestive health.  8.91 g of protein per 1/4 cup
  1. Pumpkin Seeds    Pumpkin seeds are not only protein rich, but rich in magnesium as well. Magnesium is helpful for regulating blood sugar levelsso eating pumpkin seeds is helpful for reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes.  9.75 g of protein per 1/4 cup
  1. Steel-Cut Oats  Oats contain not only protein, but also fiber and iron. It’s important to purchase steel-cut oats, as they are higher in protein than processed oats. Steel-cut oats take longer to cook and have a more dense texture..14 g protein in 1/2 cup

There are plenty of vegan foods that contain protein. The important thing to remember when eating a vegan diet is to consume a wide-variety of different foods and colors. This will ensure you are getting all the necessary macronutrients (like protein) that are needed to sustain your body. Kick that lack-of-protein fear to the curb, because there is an abundance of bioavailable protein\ in plant-based foods.


Another great Summer recipe. Visit the Grand Ledge Farmer’s Market for all your summer vegetables!

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredientsgrilled vegeables

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the grill
  • 1 each red and yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and quartered
  • 1 small red onion, cut into thick rings
  • 2 zucchini, thickly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 yellow squash, thickly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  • Oil grill grates, then preheat grill to medium high heat.
  • Working in batches, grill peppers, onions, zucchini and squash, flipping once, until just charred in parts and tender, 6 to 8 minutes total
  • Transfer to a large platter as done.
  • Set aside to let cool before cutting into bite-size pieces.
  • In a large bowl, combine grilled vegetables, garlic, vinegar, oil, basil, chickpeas, salt and pepper.
  • Garnish with Parmesan and serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve.