Dec 08 2014

Maintain Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge Week 4: Snacking Your Way to a Healthy Holiday

How have you been doing on the holiday challenge so far? If it has been challenging, keep working at it.

For most of us, the holiday season is a time of snacking. Eating snacks is not such a bad thing  unless it is too much of a good thing. What you choose and how much makes a difference. Snacks in between meals may help prevent overeating. A planned snack with a source of protein and vegetables are a healthy choice and are filling. Think mini cheese platter and make it an event. Here is what you will need to get started:

Small decorative plate

One protein serving: 1 ounce cheese, 1-2 tablespoon hummus, 1 ounce cooked meat or fish

1 serving vegetable or small serving fruit: carrot, parsnip, locally made pickled vegetable, apples, pears, dried figs

1 serving whole grains: crackers, bread, bread sticks

Condiments: whole grain mustard, small serving preserves, balsamic dressing

If you are in Asheville and want some fresh new twists on some of these ideas, West Village Market has some great options available. Some of these include:

Trio of Dips
Green Goddess (vegan & gluten free)
Rosemary Carrot Cashew (vegan & gluten free)
Beer Cheese
Crackers and Crudite

Fruit and Cheese Tray
Selection of Gourmet Cheeses
Seasonal Fruits

Mediterranean Tray
Giardiniere (Italian garden pickles)
Pita Points

You can change up your mini cheese platter to provide variety and keep fueled this holiday season. Enjoy the season and limit your less healthy snacks and choose more real food! Check out some of the previous holiday appetizer ideas on the Fresh Off the Vine Blog! Here are some of my favorites

Happy snacking!



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Dec 03 2014

Holiday Maintain Don’t Gain Week Three: Get Your Holiday Mindset Healthy

Published by under local food nutrition

How has it been going so far with staying healthy this holiday season? Some folks may get discouraged after a big Thanksgiving meal but when the going gets tough, get tough with it!

I love to share delicious recipes and menu suggestions but sometimes changing our thoughts is the most important thing that we can do to keep our holidays healthy! Dr. Susan Albers has written one book that I really love that I recommend all the time to my clients called 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food and during the holidays there is often many times that we need to soothe ourselves, whether it be because of a spat with a family member or a terrible holiday shopping spree gone wrong. I love how she divides the ways to soothe into five main types whether it be:

1. Change your way of thinking. (For instance, using less worry and negative thinking and using more positive thinking instead!)

2. Be more mindful and meditative (Don’t sit in front of the television and eat, go to the table and eat on a special plate.)

3. Relax more (instead of thinking about a stressful day, unwind with a nice walk or soak in the tub)

4. Try a distraction. (try a new hobby or new reading material)

5. Seek social support (call or message a friend on facebook and catch up).

I love Dr. Albers’ idea to keep a self-nurturing emergency box for those times each of us need a little TLC. My box contains a knitting project, a good book or magazine, a great smelling candle to light, a citrus hand lotion, a soft pair of slippers and a small box of special tea. Find other ways to comfort yourself when the holidays become stressful besides food. You can find out more about her wonderful book at

Dr. Albers also shares some great tools on her website which help support us as we work to eating more in the moment. Some of these include Mindful Eating Marathon Tips and the Mindfulmeter.

Recently, I received a copy of Dr. Albers’ new book Eat Q: Unlock the weight-loss power of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to be aware our own and others’ emotions and identify them correctly and use this information to act and think appropriately. Some people have a powerful skill to do this and it can be almost intuitive while some are either unaware or asleep when it comes to this. Dr. Albers helps people use EI to improve eating habits. When it comes to the holidays EI can be a great way to diffuse holiday mishaps, whether it is a relative who tries to push your buttons, sitting in a line of traffic trying to get a lot of things done or preventing an angry shopper from ruining your day.

How we think about stress during the holidays can help us reduce the amount of stress related eating during this time. When we still fell stressed, we can find many ways to help reduce our stress that does not relate to food!

Happy Self-Nurturing Without Food!




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Nov 24 2014

Week Two Holiday Maintain Don’t Gain Challenge: Move it and Lose It!

Published by under local food nutrition

Exercise: The Fountain of Youth

I hope that you have your holiday ingredients for Thanksgiving! We are now at Week Two of the holiday challenge. If you did not start the challenge last week, there is no time like the present! This week is time to focus on physical activity. When most of us are sitting on the couch after a big meal, break out of the usual routine and take a walk. Getting out in the fresh air will help you feel better the rest of the day and it can be a great start for a new Thanksgiving tradition. This is something that my family has added to our routine for the last 10 or 15 years. If you don’t walk on a regular basis, it may be important to have a check with your medical provider. After Thanksgiving, add more activity in the next few weeks and even beyond. It has so many health benefits and in addition, it provides enzymes to kick-in anti-aging properties which is important also. If someone has been wondering what you would like for a holiday gift, here are a few ideas that may help get you started to be more active.

1. New exercise clothes and/or shoes

2. Pedometer or fit bit

3. Gym membership

4. Free weights

5. New dog (nothing motivates more than having a wonderful exercise buddy)

6. New exercise tape, I think the Leslie Samsone walk away the pounds series are great.

These are just a few ideas that you are someone you love can share to help motivate you to get started. Record keeping can also help inspire you to get more time or days in. Treat yourself to a non-food reward after reaching so many days.

Benefits to Exercise

Exercise keeps our bones strong, helps prevent and manage diabetes, assists with weight management and maintenance and reduces the risk of cancer. It helps keep us strong and tone!


Think That You Don’t Have Time for the Fountain of Youth?

Many of us feel that we are too busy for exercise but if it keeps us younger and more tone, why not make the time? One trick that has worked for me in the past and writing it down in my schedule. If it is on my calendar, I am more likely to keep the date with myself if I have it on my calendar and if something comes up, then I have to reschedule. Add ways to get extra steps naturally by parking further from the mall or gym, walking an extra lap around the mall or downtown if you are shopping. Finding an exercise buddy to work out with you can help you on those days that you just don’t feel like it.

Ways to Get Started

Start out slow and add more as time comes. Don’t be a weekend warrior, not doing anything and when the weekend comes, doing to much and having a sports injury. Make it as permanent of a habit as brushing teeth. The rest of you is as important as your teeth. Time to get started! Get out and move!



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Nov 20 2014

As We Head Into Thanksgiving-Eat & Shop Local!

Published by under local food nutrition

As we head into Thanksgiving season, it provides us an opportunity to reflect on how the health of our community which keeps us healthy as individuals. It also takes healthy individuals to keep a community strong. This power of interconnectedness is one of the things that I love so much about living in WNC. As we head into the holiday season, it is important to shop with our neighbors when we purchase food and holiday gifts. This includes small businesses, local farmers, food artisans and craftspeople.pecan bacon pie

Shopping Local
This week, I had the chance to talk with Rosanne, Belle, Hayette and Elan at the West Village Market on Haywood Road in West Asheville some of the tasty offerings that they have for Thanksgiving. Some of their seasonal specialties include local, pasture-raised, all natural, GMO-free turkeys from Blue Ridge Mountain Foods and a locally made vegan roast made out of seitan called “The Pardon” from No Evil Foods For many of us, the side dishes are what make the Thanksgiving meal and the deli manager; Hayette has created some fun and tasty sides that will rival the best of entrées. This includes a sweet potato and sage butter casserole, homemade chorizo stuffing, maple balsamic roast Brussels sprouts and a fresh cranberry relish. Nothing tops off a great Thanksgiving like dessert and the market has some new traditional twists on some old favorites such as vegan pumpkin cheesecake, apple butter pumpkin pie and bacon pecan pie. The majority of these sides can be made gluten free. The market is taking orders from now and Sunday, November 23. Give them a call at 225-4949 to place your order and will be ready for pick up either on November 25 or 26 just let them know ahead of time which date.

apple butter pie


For additional holiday festivities over the weekend and when the cook needs a break, West Village has a wonderful variety of seasonal, freshly made items in their deli. A few of these include some of my all-time favorites like “Tempeh’s So Asheville” sandwich, pimento cheese or the tofu salad but there are a lot of other great things to choose from like chicken salad, tuna salad, tabouli, kale salad, potato salad, root vegetables, power bowls, breakfast burritos, made from scratch soups, a variety of local cheese, frittatas, Sunburst trout, cookies, scones, scuffins and an Indian food bar on Wednesdays! There is a full sandwich menu to choose from including the new “Mariachi”, vegan  with quesadilla. The deli puts a focus on local, organic and GMO free. The sandwiches are made Annie’s bread and egg dishes are made from local eggs.


If you are going to make something from scratch and need some farm fresh ingredients, West Village has a lot of great local ingredients to choose from and this fall includes potatoes, sweet, potatoes, garlic, kale, lettuce, cabbage, Marconi and scotch bonnet peppers, pie pumpkins, Hubbard, red kuri, butternut, sweet dumpling winter squash. Elan, produce manager said that foods available local can vary week by week depending on the season, the weather and other things happening in a farmers’ life. Some of the main farms that the market purchases some of their beautiful produce include R Farms, Gardens United in West Asheville, Common Ground in Burnsville and Keith Byron from Bent Creek. Mountain Foods supplies the remainder of organic and local food the market needs. They also carry a lot of other locally made foods like Lusty Monk Mustard, Smoking Js Fiery Foods and Imladris Farms Jams just to name a few


Here is a form for quick easy ordering!


Happy Eating and Shopping!

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Nov 17 2014

Annual Maintain Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge

Published by under local food nutrition

Let’s Get Started

It is hard to believe that it is already November 17th! I have been home with a cold and almost did not get it  up and ready to go! It is super easy to get started, print out the dates and check out the blog every Monday for each week’s holiday words of wisdom. If you want to weigh in or even take your waist measurement, this may help you maintain. Each week, try setting a behavioral goal.

November 17____________

This week’s goal:________________________________________________________________________

November 24_____________

This week’s goal:_______________________________________________________________________

December 1_______________

This week’s goal:_______________________________________________________________________

December 8_______________

This week’s goal:_______________________________________________________________________

December 15_______________

This week’s goal:______________________________________________________________________

December 22_______________

This week’s goal:_____________________________________________________________________

December 29_______________

This week’s goal:_____________________________________________________________________

January 5_________________

This week’s goal:____________________________________________________________________


This Week’s Goal

What to set for this week’s goal? It is really up to you and what challenges that you have. Maybe it is eating less that usual this Thanksgiving. If that is a goal, how would you achieve it? As I mentioned last week, a big salad before I eat my meal helps me cut back on portions but for someone else there may be another way. So your goal can be as individual as each of us just so it helps us achieve behavioral change. Another example might be  to take a walk after Thanksgiving dinner or filling half of the plate with vegetables. The other thing to consider is that Thanksgiving is one meal and one day, it is not the whole weekend or the beginning of overeating for 6 weeks. Sometimes once people have blown it once, it provides permission to continue to overeat. One meal cannot make or break someone. Thanksgiving can even be worked in a few days before and a few days after with some sensible, healthy eating. Get inspired to eat tasty and eat healthy. To enjoy and savor every morsel. This year give yourself the opportunity to enjoy the festive food and working into your healthy lifestyle!

Happy Thanksgiving!


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Nov 13 2014

Local Fall Recipes for the Holidays

Published by under local food nutrition

I just visited North American Roofing’s health fair to make some tasty fall recipes for the holidays and also let employees know about the great benefit with Blue Cross Blue Shield which covers nutrition visits with a registered dietitian. I made my favorite holiday salad and also made a sweet potato dip. I hope that you give them a try and enjoy!


Denise’s Favorite Holiday Salad

4 cups local salad greens

2 sliced or chopped apples

1/3 cup dried cranberries (if desired)

1/3 cup toasted pecans

1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese

Balsamic dressing

Place greens in a bowl and add apple and onions. top with cranberries, pecans and cheese. Drizzle with balsamic dressing. Makes 4 servings.


Sweet Potato Dip

You can make this dip with leftover sweet potatoes

2-3 baked sweet potatoes, baked and peeled

1 can white beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup parmesan cheese

1 clove garlic minced

sprinkle of chipotle powder

1/2 tsp cumin

salt and pepper to taste

Place ingredients in the blender and process. Add to a bowl and serve with crackers.

Did not get a chance to take a picture of these two dishes, they went fast.

north american roofing 3


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Nov 05 2014

Fall Menus with Local Ingredients

Here are some fall menus to try:

Fall Menus


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Nov 05 2014

Locavore Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving plans have been in the works, whether its traveling far or near to friends or  family, making dinner reservations or planning the menu at home. Thanksgiving was designed around the bounty of the season so it is easy to plan a meal based on what is grown where you live. Depending on the availability of foods in your area this could include one to two foods purchased from a local farmer or even a meal almost entirely from your region. This holiday is meant to be savored so small bites and lots of reflection and gratitude! Here are some healthy recipe ideas to make your holiday more local:

1. Main Event

Here in WNC, we have a number of farmers who have local turkeys. If you are interested, you may want to reserve yours now:

If you prefer a local, vegetarian recipe, here are a few ideas:

Ginger Garlic Tempeh with Kale

Savory Vegan Roast

Roasted Mushrooms

Here is one of my favorite holiday vegetarian dishes, you can make it with or without the cheese:

2. Side Dishes

Our family starts out with a salad so we are comfortably satisfied by the time, the other food comes. Here is one of my favorites!

Denise’s Favorite Holiday Salad:

4 cups local salad greens
2 sliced or chopped apples
1/3 cup dried cranberries (if desired)
1/3 cup toasted pecans
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
Balsamic dressing

Place greens in a bowl and add apple and onions. top with cranberries, pecans and cheese. Drizzle with balsamic dressing. If you want, make your own with a locally made balsamic vinegar:

Mashed Potatoes

What you add to these and how much gravy you add can make a difference so keep this in mind when you eat them.


Stuffing or Dressing

Depending on where you grew up and your family traditions probably will dictate what you have. For those who like to add different items in it every year, it is up to you on your preference, the main thing is moderation.

Sweet Potatoes Sweet or Savory

Some of us like our sweet and some of us like ours savory, here are two possibilities depending on your preference:




Another Vegetable?

Go ahead and add another vegetable if you like! One of my favorites is roasted Brussels Sprouts

3. Last But Not Least: Dessert!

A little can go a long ways. Our family has traditionally taken a walk or a hike after our meal to work it off or perhaps to work dessert in! Local foods available have often been the traditional desserts like apples, pumpkin or winter squash and pecans

Mini Pumpkin Pecan Pie

These little pies make portion control a little easier and also make them easier to save for latter. You can even box up leftovers and take to a friend’s for another celebration! Try making these with a traditional Candy Roaster Squash available in WNC!


A candy roaster from the garden.
Fruit Crisp

This dessert can be made with whatever fruit is in season. You can also mix any of the following:
apples, pears, peaches or plums. You can add dried, fresh or frozen cranberries, cherries or blue
berries for bits of color.

7 cups cored and sliced fruit of choice (apples, pears, peaches, and or plums)
1 cup cranberries ( can also use cherries, raspberries, or blueberries)
3/4 c firmly packed brown sugar (can use less)
1/2 c old-fashioned rolled oats
2/3 c all purpose flour
1/4 c chopped pecans or walnuts
3 TB tub margarine softened

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In medium shallow baking dish, place apples and cranberries. In a
medium bowl, combine brown sugar, oats, flour, nuts, and margarine. Sprinkle brown sugar
mixture over fruit. Bake until apples and cranberries are bubbly and tender, about 50 minutes.
Transfer dish to wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm with low fat frozen yogurt if desired.


I have additional seasonal recipes in my new book, Farm Fresh Nutrition that you might enjoy also for the holidays! These include Beer Glazed Carrots and Beets, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Pecans, Roasted Shitake Mushrooms with Potatoes and Squash, Roasted Butternut Squash with Goat Cheese, Lemony Kale Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Pecans and more.

facebook book cover

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Oct 21 2014

Celebrate Fall with the Abundance of Local Food

Kale, Cabbage and Apple Slaw

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Lusty Monk mustard
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Coarse salt and pepper
3 cups mixed shredded kale and red cabbage
1 red apple chopped
2 tablespoons diced red onion
In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, mustard, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. In another bowl, combine kale, cabbage, apples and red onion. Drizzle with dressing, and toss to coat.
For variations, experiment with your choice of nuts, cheese and herbs.
Denise Barratt, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

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Oct 13 2014


I wanted to share a few pictures of Farm Fresh Nutrition’s book release celebration! We had great food and guests. I wanted to share the recipes that we had on Saturday. Most of these are not from the book so you can have even more local food recipes! All the food was grown locally with the exception of the tea bags, wheat flour and sugar in the soda!

Our menu:

Kale , Goat Cheeseand Caramelized Onion Pizzettes

Meat Balls made from Hickory Nut Gap Beef with Smoking Js Fiery Foods Mocha Stout Barbeque Sauce

Smiling Hara’s Tempeh with Smiling Js Fiery Foods Ninja Porter Barbeque Sauce

Crostini with Pesto, Roasted Butternut Squash and Potato Drizzled with Local Balsamic Vinegar

Local Apple Cupcakes with Praline Glaze

Appalachian Tea

Blueberry Basil Soda from Waynesville Soda Jerks


Kale, Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onion

To make: Use pizza dough from Farm Fresh Nutrition roll out into 2 1/2 inch circles. Top with sauteed kale, caramelized onions and goat cheese. Heat in oven which has been preheated to 450 and cook until slightly browned on bottom.

Meat Balls

One pound lean ground beef, 1 egg, 1/3 cup bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 clove garlic minced, 1/3 cup minced onions. Form meat balls. Bake in oven at 350 degrees and bake until brown. The meat balls were placed in a clean pan and brushed with the Mocha Stout Barbeque Sauce. Bake until barbeque sauce is slightly cooked on meatballs.


With so many varieties it is hard to just pick one so we had all of them. (However, the Hempeh was not available when we bought the other three kinds). We had black eyed pea, black bean and soy. The tempeh was cubed and sauteed in a little oil until browned. Transfer into pan and add Ninja Porter Barbeque Sauce, bake until sauce is slightly cooked on tempeh.

Crostini with Pesto, Roasted Butternut Squash Potato Drizzled with Local Balsamic Vinegar

Purchase a skinny baguette and slice thin. Brush with olive oil and herbs and toast on both sides. Allow to sit on a cookie sheet. Meanwhile peel and roast butternut squash and potatoes and roast in olive oil until soft. Make kale or herb pesto according to directions in Farm Fresh Nutrition. Top the crispy baguette toasts with pesto and then with vegetables, drizzle with local balsamic vinegar.

Local Apple Cupcakes

Appalachian Tea

This was just a fun invention of tea, local, organic apple cider and chopped apples and pears.

If you missed our celebration! I have some other opportunities to get the book. Follow Vine Ripe Nutrition on Facebook, Twitter and you can also find other book events on Vine Ripe event page. I hope to see you soon and sign your new book for you! This weekend I will be in Atlanta at Star Provisions and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics FNCE meeting with #FarmFreshNutrition. I hope everyone who has their copy has been enjoying the book! I hope that you are enjoying the beautiful fall weather!

Yours in Local Food & Health!


Bobbi and Denise with the kale pizzettes, meat balls, tempeh, crostini and the cupcakes!

Bobbi and Denise with the kale pizzettes, meat balls, tempeh, crostini and the cupcakes!







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