Winning At Kitchen BOOK TOUR and free GIVEAWAY!


You've seen the recipes.

You've marveled at the meal plans.

Now, meet the woman behind the magic that is: WINNING AT KITCHEN

I'd like to introduce you to my good friend and esteemed colleague, Michelle Pfennighaus. We met in 2009 during our health coach training program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. We became friends on the long bus rides back and forth from Boston to New York over the course of six months.

There are tons of recipe books and resources out there but how often do you get to know a bit about the real, live person who's doing all that cooking and creating? Would you like to know how Michelle came to do what she does so well?

Well, read on.  And make sure to scroll down for an incredible recipe for Chocolate Chili and Cinnamon Cornbread AND a giveaway to win a FREE copy of WINNING AT KITCHEN.

Here's Michelle:


Sooooo, you're really a pro with all this meal prep and recipe planning. Were you always this organized?

Michelle: Yep, when I was in grade school we didn't have a lot of money and I was always self-conscious that I didn't have enough cool clothes. I kept a written chart of what I wore each day to make sure I didn't do the same outfit two weeks in a row or whatever. OCD? Maybe a little, teensy, weensy bit...

What were your eating habits like as a child and teenager?

Michelle: My mom wouldn't let me eat crap so I ate it every chance I got. But in between I learned how to cook with her in the kitchen and eat real food. I can make a mean meatloaf with both hands tied behind my back.

Yes, it's obvious you have amazing skills--since you made this program with not one, but TWO kids under your feet. You could have picked so many things--why do you love focusing on making meal planning and recipes easier for other people?

Michelle: Recipes drive me crazy! I'm always changing the recipes I find in cookbooks and online to be less fussy and less expensive. But you know what, before I became a mother I didn't do much meal planning. I also slept a lot more and washed my hair every day! Since having my boys, I've learned how essential a meal plan is for being efficient and getting good food on the table every night.

What's one thing you tried for a while, a diet or nutrition trend, that you ended up ditching and why?

Michelle: HA! I've tried just about everything. Macrobiotics was my first attempt at eating a healthy, real food diet. It was pretty bland and the food prep is insane. But it was my first step at reversing IBS and breaking my sugar addiction.

If you weren't doing this awesome, practical work as a nutrition and health coach, would you want to do anything else instead? (beside being the amazing mom you already are)

Michelle: I'd perform in the musical Chicago. Except I have a really awful singing voice.

There ya have it, folks. You can see she's an amazingly organized cook AND a comedian.

Now, let's get onto that recipe and WINNING AT KITCHEN GIVEAWAY!

Chocolate Chili with Cinnamon Cornbread


For chili:

1 Tbl. coconut oil 1 onion, minced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 large sweet potato, diced 3 large Swiss chard leaves, minced 15-oz. can diced tomatoes 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock 2 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained 2 15-oz. cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained 1 Tbl. cumin 1 Tbl. cinnamon 1 Tbl. chili powder 2 Tbl. cocoa powder 1⁄2 tsp. salt (or more, depending how salty your stock is)

Hot sauce

For cornbread: 1/4 cup coconut oil, plus more for pan 2 cups cornmeal 11⁄2 cups unsweetened milk of choice 1 egg, beaten 2 Tbl. raw honey 2 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. cinnamon 1 tsp. salt

1. In large stock pot, heat coconut oil over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic and sweet potato. Mix and cook for about 5 minutes. Add Swiss chard, tomatoes, stock, beans, spices, cocoa and salt. Bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 1 hour. Serve with hot sauce.

2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400oF. Grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet or an 8-inch pan and set aside.

3. Combine all cornbread ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into prepared skillet or pan. Bake 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Italian White Beans over Quinoa


  The most amazing thing about this post isn't the recipe, guys. It's nothing that's going to win any culinary awards, even if it is damn good.

What's amazing is how it came together. And how easily you can pull off the same thing, with a little pantry prep.

Last week, I was standing in my kitchen. Starved and wanting to whip up something veggie-based and delicious, I wanted to play the game, What Can I Make That's Delicious and Easy? This is what I came up with. It's easy to do this when I keep some basic staples stocked in my kitchen. Cans of beans, diced tomatoes, fresh dried herbs, fresh garlic and onions. Some fresh greens in the fridge are a good idea, too.

On your next trip, throw a few of these in your cart so when you haven't planned ahead, you can read this recipe and take delight in knowing you are prepped and ready for an awesome, easy dinner!


Italian White Beans over Quinoa

1 large can white cannellini beans 1 large can diced tomatoes 2 cloves garlic, sliced 1 small onion, diced 1 Tbsp olive oil 4 large handful fresh baby spinach 2 cups quinoa, cooked 1 Tbsp dried oregano 1 tsp dried basil 1 tsp dried rosemary

(you can also just add 2 Tbsp Italian seasoning blend)


In a large skillet, add olive oil and heat until warm. Add onion and cook until browned. Add tomatoes, beans, dried herbs and garlic. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Add baby spinach and stir into bean mixture until it wilts.

Serve over cooked quinoa. Topped with shredded cheese of choice. I HIGHLY recommend the Robusto from Whole Foods Market.



Mexican-Inspired Dinner in 15 Minutes


Friends, I recently declared in my newsletter that I'm no recipe guru. I will leave the recipe-mastering to folks who do it much better than me. Know what I can offer you? I can offer you advice on how to throw whole food together and make it taste halfway decent.

Here's what I did the other night when I was hungry, tired and wanted something nutritious with barely any work.

Mexican-Inspired Dinner in 15 Minutes

Feeds 2 with leftovers

you'll need:

2 cups of black beans, rinsed 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 medium onion, diced 1 Tbsp of coconut oil

1 tsp cumin 1 tsp chili powder 2 cups diced tomatoes 1 avocado 2 cups quinoa, cooked 1 sweet potato, diced 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves

do this:

In a small pot, bring 2 cups water to a boil, add the sweet potato chunks and boil until soft. Drain and set aside.

In a small sauté pan over medium heat, melt the coconut oil and brown the onions until they are translucent. Add the brown beans, chili powder, cumin and garlic. Set heat to low and simmer for five minutes, stirring often.

Per person:

Combine 1/2 cup of the bean mixture, a handful of sweet potato chunks, 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup quinoa, 1/2 cup spinach and top with 1/2 avocado, sliced.

Add a pinch of salt.

Still hungry? Eat more. It's all veggies and whole foods--you can feel good about it.

But make more next time, so you have leftovers. ;)


Real food is so fun, so good and so simple.  Eat it.