Something for Sundays: Roasted Fennel & Butternut Squash

Amy Rizzotto Butternut Squash Move Well DC

Big batch recipes are where it’s at! Save yourself time, money, and brain space by making a sheet pan full of roasted vegetables, 4-5 servings of a healthy whole grain, and a pot full of beans or lentils at the start of each week to make workweek meals easy peasy. You can think of the recipe below like a formula – swap the veggies out for others you like (brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, etc) and change up your spices (cumin, red pepper flakes, curry, etc). Just be sure to keep an eye as you roast different combinations as some vegetables might not need as long to cook. Look for golden brown bits around the edges and avoid letting your vegetables get black and burnt – no carcinogens please!

Something for Sundays - Move Well DC - Butternut Squash and Fennel

Something for Sundays: Papaya Coconut Granola

Work weeks are hectic and weekends are no longer for rest – at least that’s the way I’m feeling these days. In an effort to fit it all in we have less and less time for essentials like sleep, feeding ourselves and down time. What would happen if we all set aside just a few hours, once a weekend, to stay in, read a book, make some food and just plain relax?

Big batch recipes are a great use of our limited down time – good bang for your (time) buck! With that in mind, I’m launching a new series on my blog “Something for Sundays” to provide big batch recipe ideas that will help you maximize your relaxation time. You may have to hang around the house – dare I suggest, read a book, watch a movie, or listen to a podcast – but you won’t have to be too hands on with these recipes. First up…

Move Well DC Papaya Coconut Granola Recipe


Slow-Cooker Pulled Chicken

We live in a busy world and my clients are always listing time, convenience, and budget as their biggest constraints on healthy eating. When cooking is the last thing you want to think about, the amazing slow-cooker is your best friend. First introduced to the world in 1950 and mass-marketed in the 1970s, this piece of kitchen equipment has stood the test of time and is a staple in many a household. In most cases, you truly can dump ingredients in the large ceramic vessel, cover, and forget about it for the day – coming home to a homemade meal, house that smells divine, and still have time to spend with your family and friends.


This pulled chicken recipe is so easy. The only prep you have to do is mince the garlic and adobo pepper and thinly slice the scallions. If you’re feeling extra lazy, buy minced garlic in a jar. Serve it with a couple corn tortillas, cabbage slaw with a vinegar base, fresh avocado slices, and cilantro leaves for a healthy and easy dinner perfect for staying in or entertaining a crowd (chicken thighs keep the cost down!).

Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas



  • 4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced using green and white parts
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 chipotle in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 Tbs cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste



  1. Add the chicken, wine, scallions, garlic, chipotles, cumin, black pepper, chili powder, and salt to the basin of a large slow cooker.  Mix with a large wooden spoon to coat chicken in sauce and spices.
  2. Cook on low for 7-8 hours until the chicken is tender and shreds easily with two forks.
  3. Serve immediately with tortillas or atop brown rice and greens in a bowl.
  4. You can refrigerate this recipe in an air-tight for up to 5 days, or freeze it in an air-tight container for up to 3 months (be sure to label it!).


Perfect Pork Chops

It’s getting chilly out and there is no better time to warm up with some home-cooked goodness than this sweater weather time of year. One of my favorite, grounding and nourishing dishes is seared pork chops. Pork chops are lean, delicious, easy to make, and go perfectly with all that homemade apple sauce you now have from the fall harvest. Bonus: if you have a pup, give them the bone when you’re done. They’ll love you forever (though I’m sure they already do).


Here’s a simple, hard-to-screw-up recipe perfect for a cozy night in. Pair with roasted root vegetables and a simple sample for a healthy meal that won’t break the bank.


Serves 2

– Two 4-6oz pork chops
– Sea salt and pepper to taste
– Olive oil for cooking

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 F. Bring chops to room temp, pat dry and season on both sides with sea salt and pepper.
2. Pre-heat a heavy (oven safe) skillet over a medium-high flame. When hot enough a drop of water hitting the pan will hiss and steam.
3. Add 1-2 tsp olive oil and immediately add chops. Cook for 1 minute on the first side, flip and cook for 2 minutes on the second.
4. Transfer whole pan to oven and bake for 8-10 minutes.
5. Remove and let rest for at least 5 minutes on a plate or cutting board. Slice serve whole.

Garden Fresh Kale-Almond Pesto

I’m an Italian girl with Mediterranean taste buds so when summer rolls around pesto comes into the forefront of my culinary rotation. Pesto is so easy to make and can be played with endlessly. My little urban garden is currently overflowing with at least four varieties of heirloom kale and a gal can only eat so many kale chips, eat so many kale salads, and drink so many kale smoothies before she gets kale’d out. The solution to my kale fatigue? You guessed it, presto pesto!

Kale Almond Pest

My kale pesto has the same umami goodness of a more traditional recipe, but with a little extra kick from the bittersweet taste profile of this blend of kale leaves. I used a mix of laccinato, curly, and a purple-stemmed kale whose name I don’t know but you can use whatever looks fresh and delicious. If you don’t have almonds, pine nuts or walnuts work well too.


I quadrupled this recipe to make 4 quarts, which are now sitting frozen in my freezer for a crazy week when I don’t have the time to cook. These will stay fresh for up to 3 months when frozen, but I wouldn’t leave them sitting for more than a week in your refrigerator. Enjoy with eggs, grains like farro or quinoa, and of course on pasta. Green goodness in a jar – what more could you want from a summer haul!


Kale-Almond Pesto

(yields one quart)



  • 6 heaping handfuls of kale (I used 22 leaves de-stemmed)
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted almonds


  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until it’s an even consistency.
  2. Scrape contents into a wide mouth mason jar.
  3. Store in the fridge for up to 10 days or freezer for up to 3 months.

Spicy Mango-Coconut Popsicles

We live in a world addicted to sugar, it’s true, but going cold turkey doesn’t always work out so well. Deprivation can lead to yo-yo eating patterns, which won’t help you sustain your long-term healthy eating goals. A better approach that I often help my wellness clients take is making healthier versions of your favorite meals.

Dessert, while not the most essential of meals, is nonetheless an important food ritual many of us enjoy – and hey, life is best when enjoyed! One of my favorite challenges is finding ways to make sweets better for you without tasting like sawdust or bland ice.

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With that in mind, I recently experimented with  a Mango Coconut Popsicle recipe, spiced with ginger. Ginger is a superfood linked to relieving nausea, inflammation, pain and a whole host of digestive issues. I also threw some turmeric in there because, well, why not? It too has anti-inflammatory properties and might help your skin and joints look and feel their best.

This fast and tasty recipe is guilt-free and impossible to mess up. Bonus: any leftovers that won’t fit in your molds can be enjoyed on the spot as a healthy smoothie. Enjoy!

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Spicy Mango-Coconut Popsicles

Servings: 6-8 popsicles



  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mango
  • 1/2 very ripe banana
  • 1” fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1/2” fresh turmeric, scrubbed
  • 1/2 cup whole fat plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 8 oz unsweetened almond milk



  1. Blend ingredients in a high-speed blender for 1 minute or until smooth.
  2. Pour into popsicle molds leaving about a 1/4” at the top. Any leftovers can be consumed like a smoothie – yum!
  3. Freeze for at least 3 hours, but ideally overnight.

Rosewater Raspberry Gluten-Free Scones

I highly recommend taking a long weekend with friends, yummy food, and outdoor walks in the sunshine; and without a computer or to do list. Like highly recommend it. I recently did just this up in NYC with some of my dearest girl friends with whom (is that proper grammar??) I studied abroad nearly 10 years ago. Damn, the years are flying by! Anyways…


We had a ball! Despite bopping around a bunch like an itinerant little gypsy, the weekend wasn’t stressful at all. Leaving my computer at home certainly helped, but mostly it was my lack of an agenda – something I struggle to let go of in my daily DC grind – that created space and time to do everything I needed and wanted with flexibility and a sense of ease.


Here are some highlights…


On Saturday, I went to the Union Square Famers Market (amazing) and gawked at peonies the size of my face and farm-fresh eggs that looked like the most beautiful golden nuggets I’ve ever seen. I would have stayed there the whole day if it weren’t for the sweltering heat and sweaty mess I had quickly become.





Sunday, was a day filled with jamm, which means “peace” in Wolof, Senegal’s native tongue. The girls and I throw that word around a lot when we’re together since Dakar was our study abroad destination and jamm was our main objective while there.


All day I was surrounded by these four mighty and magnificent women who inspire, nurture and love me to no end. How lucky am I? Together, we made a version of the gluten-free scones you’ll see below as well as some delicious frittatas.


Food is always best when made with love and enjoyed in good company. All of that was abundant and then some. We gabbed for hours while dining al fresco on a Brooklyn co-op rooftop. Heaven on earth.




I rounded out the weekend spending time with one of my other very best friends from childhood, Court. Actually, let’s call her my sister. Much more appropriate for our bond. We’ve known each other since age four and no matter how long we go in between visits, it feels like we’ve never skipped a beat.


While waiting for her arrival at an amazing Jewish Deli somewhere in lower Manhattan, I decided to express my joy for a weekend well spent with a little urban hand-standing. What else is a yogi to do?




I could regal you with all the mundane details of what made that weekend so magical in my mind, but instead I’ll simply suggest you try out these Rosewater Raspberry Scones and taste for yourself some of the love and jamm I brought back with me from NYC.



Rosewater Raspberry Gluten-Free Scones

Makes ~16  2 1/2-3″ scones.
  • 2 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Biscuit Mix
  • 1/2 cup Gluten-Free Rolled Oats
    3/4 cup 2% or Whole Milk (note: you can substitute 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk + 1/4 cup plain coconut milk yogurt to make this vegan)
  • 10 Tbs butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/4 cup Rosewater
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup cane sugar
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
  • Optional: 2-3 Tbs Milk for basting
  • Optional: sprinkle of corse sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Blend with butter cubes using a pastry cutter. You can also use your finger to pinch the butter into the flour mixture if you don’t have one.
  3. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together milk, egg, rosewater, zest and sugar.
  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients in the larger of the two bowls. Knead with your hands until dough is combined. It may be a bit chunky/flaky, but that’s good for scones.
  5. Fold in raspberries until evenly distributed.
  6. Shape into small round disks, approximate 2 – 2 1/2″ in diameter. Place on a lined baking sheet 1″ apart.
  7. Baste raw biscuits with a smear of milk, then sprinkle lightly with corse sea salt.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 22-26 min, or until the tops turn golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

Gluten Free Strawberry Balsamic Tart with Mint

Two weeks ago, I shared a recipe for Gluten Free Pie Crust. On this Meatless Monday, it’s time to fill it!

With all the yummy fresh strawberries I’ve been receiving in my weekly From the Farmer basket, I couldn’t resist making a Strawberry Balsamic Tart. This sweet and savory treat is perfect for a summer night and easy to transport to a friend’s BBQ as long as you leave it in the pan. It’s on the healthier side of dessert so feel free to indulge guilt-free or perhaps break the rules and have it for breakfast!

Gluten Free Strawberry Balsamic Tart

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 recipe of Gluten Free Pie Crust
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp raw (or lavender-infused…) honey
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries (washed, hulled and sliced) – or about 2 cups sliced
  • 5-10 mint leaves
How to Make It:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
  2. Add balsamic to a saucepan and cook over medium heat until reduced by about half. Let cool and it should form into a nice syrup or “reduction.”
  3. Melt honey and add to the balsamic reduction. Stir to combine.
  4. Roll pie crust thin between two sheets of parchment paper. This doesn’t have to be perfect as you’ll press it into your pie dish or tart pan. Make sure you get all the way up to the edges and rim of the pan and spread the dough around evenly.
  5. In a large bowl, mix cut strawberries and balsamic/honey mix. Spread mixture evenly inside crust.
  6. Bake for 25-30 min or until the crust edges turn a nice golden brown. Remove and let cool 10-30 min. 
  7. Cut up mint leaves and sprinkle on top. Serve on its own or with a rounded scoop of vanilla ice cream or coconut sorbet.
Don’t forget, my readers receive 20% off their first 4 From the Farmer baskets with code ‘MOARfit’ at checkout!

Kale Salad with Meyer Lemon, Pomegranate and Cumin Dressing

Sweet and smoky. Tangy and herbal. Light and rich. My Meyer Lemon, Pomegranate and Cumin Dressing takes kale salad to another level. I know, sometimes I’m not so humble. Seriously though, my dear friend Jeanine can attest that this salad dressing is all those things and then some. Add a  handful of pistachios and dried cherries to the mix and you have a healthy side dish for all your summer meals and an easy contribution to any cookout.

If you read last week’s post (Pomegranate Power Bites), you probably already picked up that I’m on a pomegranate molasses kick. How could I not be? The stuff is packed with the powerful immune system-boosting antioxidant, vitamin C. It also contains several B vitamins which help your body produce energy and maintain healthy muscular, cardiovascular and nervous system function.  It’s also super flavorful so a little goes a long way!


Pomegranate Cumin Dressing

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1 Meyer lemon
  • 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbs pomegranate molasses
  • 1 Tbs cumin
  • 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/4 fresh basil leaves

For the salad:

  • 6 cups kale, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup roasted, unsalted pistachios
  • 1/4 cup unsulphured tart cherries
  1. Dress 6 cups (or heaping handfuls) of chopped kale with 2/3 of the dressing – set the rest aside for serving.
  2. Massage the kale leaves for a minute then cover and refrigerate for at least one hour (and up to 24).
  3. When ready to serve, add in the pistachios and dried cherries. Add what remains of the dressing to taste.

Pomegranate Power Bites

This healthy treat is made entirely from only three whole foods (plus spices) and is vegan, gluten-free, grain-free and raw. My secret ingredients are cardamom and pomegranate molasses which give it a Mediterranean vibe. With my nutrition clients, I tend to steer clear of prescribing any pre-packaged diet (e.g. Paleo, Thrive, etc) and instead tailor healthy lifestyle strategies to where they are and where they want to be with their overall well-being. The Mediterranean diet, however, is something I can get behind with clear conscious and confidence. Less of a diet and more of a lifestyle, it has been scientifically linked to reducing inflammation, decreasing the risk of diabetes and lowering cholesterol and high blood pressure. It’s all about eating tons of fruits and vegetables, choosing whole grains instead of refined, cooking with heart healthy fats like olive oil, eating less meat and more fish and legumes, seasoning with spices rather than tons of salt, cutting back on sweets and drinking some red wine here and there–sounds like a life I’d like to lead!

I’ve posted several Mediterranean diet-friendly recipes on MOARfit over the years–like my Pesce alla Puttanesca, Quinoa Black Bean Zucchini Burgers and Farro and Leek Risotto–but I’ve yet to provide a healthy snack option. This one happens to be sweet thanks to pomegranate molasses and dates, and is perfect a few hours before a workout or immediately after because of its carb: protein ratio.

Here’s a quick summary of the health benefits of Pomegranate Molasses:

This sweet and tangy elixir is made of pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon (p.s. you can make your own, though I didn’t for this recipe). The main ingredient, pomegranate juice, may prevent or slow the accumulation of cholesterol in your arteries. Pomegranate molasses contains tons of the powerful antioxidant, vitamin C, which as you likely know thanks to products like Emergen-C seriously boosts your immune system. It also delivers several B vitamins including B1, B3, B5 and B6. Vitamin B1, or thiamin helps your body produce energy and is key to healthy muscle, cardiovascular system and nervous system function; vitamin B3, or niacin, benefits your skin, nervous system and digestive system; vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, is important for healthy growth (eat up kiddos!); and vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, helps your body digest and use proteins and transport oxygen via red blood cells throughout your body.


Pomegranate Power Bites
What You’ll Need:
{makes 20 1″ bites, or 10 servings}
  • 2 cups raw organic almonds and/or cashews (mixed or not)
  • 8 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 3 Tbs pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp  ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp  ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (optional: for rolling)

How to Make Them:

  1. Soak almonds and/or cashews in water for 2-3 hours. Drain.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor (not a blender!) and pulse until it comes together in a dough-y consistency. (You may want to add a few splashes of water depending on your food processor).
  3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Shape into 1″ balls and roll in unsweetened coconut.
  5. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Remove 10-20 minutes before serving to avoid brain freeze.