The Truly Easy Heart Healthy Cookbook by Michelle Routhenstein

Part One (Part Two will feature four of Michelle’s recipes)

Whenever I create a new recipe for my website (,) or teach a cooking class, my motto is that the recipe should reflect “The Good Taste of Health.”

The Heart Healthy Cookbook by registered dietitian nutritionist Michelle Routhenstein ( does just that! However, this is also a cookbook that features food for healthy hearts, for which the  author is certainly qualified to write because she is also a certified diabetes educator and preventive cardiology dietitian.

Thus, the first section of the book reflects her background in nutrition for healthy hearts with such topics as: Love Your Heart Through Food,” a mini-review of other well-documented heart healthy, plant-based diets such as Mediterranean, DASH (for hypertension), and vegetarian diets.

She clarifies why a plant-based diet, with its reduction of many animal products that can cause clogged arteries followed by heart disease. Plant-based does not mean totally vegetarian, but rather more emphasis on non-animal foods and more on fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, etc.

In sum, a heart healthy diet is a balance of lean protein, heart-healthy fats, and complex carbs that contain heart-protective foods with vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants (Substances that protects cells from the damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules made by the process of oxidation during normal metabolism. My source for definition: National Cancer Institute).

Michelle Routhenstein then provides us with a list of foods with helpful information under her section: The Heart of the Heart-Healthy Diet:

  1. Eat lean protein.
  2. Choose unsaturated fat over saturated fat
  3. Pick complex carbs high in dietary fiber.
  4. Prioritize antioxidants.
  5. Reduce your salt intake.
  6. Bake, steam, and roast your way to success.
  7. Attune to your hunger cues.

The author also includes two helpful charts in this first, important chapter. The first chart has three columns: 1) Foods to Love, 2) Foods to Limit, and 3) Foods to Let Go. The second chart is Easy Swaps for Processed Foods which also has three columns: 1) Processed Foods to Avoid, 2) Better Option to Buy, 3) Better Option to Make (with page numbers for recipes of the items listed.)

There are also pages that help with shopping, stocking your pantry, and essential kitchen utensils. Finally, she addresses the recipes themselves so that the reader understands how to create the recipes that are quick (30 minutes or less) and simple (five main ingredients), yet still tasty and nutritious.

The 125 recipes are the “heart” of the book, and with the information in the first chapter, anyone can put together these dishes without too much effort. I made two recipes that were both delicious and because I am a vegetarian, I put the two on one plate as my main dish, with salad first. While the recipes are plant-based, they are not only plants. Chapters Two through Nine start with Breakfast and Smoothies, followed by Salads; Soups & Sides; Vegan & Vegetarian Mains; Seafood Mains; Lean Poultry; Sweet Treats & Savory Snacks; and finally, Seasonings, Sauces, and Staples.

Michelle Routhenstein’s cookbook is user-friendly and her heart-healthy approach is evident in all aspects of the book. Michelle also has a nutrition counseling and consulting practice in New York and also consults virtually. The book is published by Rock Ridge Press and costs $16.99.

In the next posting I will feature the two meatless recipes with two sauces as toppings (four recipes in all) that I created in less than 30 minutes, as the author promised, and for me, as noted above, reflect my motto of “The Good Taste of Health.”

To contact Michelle:


Instagram: Heart. Health. Nutritionist


February Frenzy 2022

February is a short, yet busy month calendar-wise. Today is the Chinese New Year and the beginning of Spring in China. First, see creative writing buddy Harvey Davis’ poem on this topic, reprinted with his permission, below:

The Year of the Tiger on the Chinese calendar is a very important date.
In various countries it’s called Lunar New Year; for it you don’t want to be late.
In countries like China, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, and many more
Everyone looks forward to the 15-day highlight of the year you cannot ignore.
This new year’s celebration is also known in other places as the spring festival,And to those who celebrate the day it could be considered mystical.
It is a public holiday in countless countries and in large Chinese communities.
You can honestly say it brings to the Asian people a great sense of unity.
In some countries the festivities for the new year might have a special name.
“Tet” is the name for the Vietnamese celebration, but in truth it is the same.
The festivities include honoring ancestors and there are traditional ceremonies
When people get together to welcome the new year looking for prosperity.
You may be more familiar with Dragon dances but there are also lesser-known activities.
Have you ever heard of lion dances? For some countries it is their proclivity.
But for all involved in celebrating the new year they look for wealth,
Good fortune, prosperity, and happiness, but most of all for good health.
The Chinese calendar is about one month behind our Gregorian one.
It has between 30 and 50 more days per year — figuring that out is fun.
The Chinese zodiac calendar has a cycle of 12 years following the moon phases.
If you notice each year a Chinese zodiac animal is a symbol it embraces.
The 12 Chinese zodiac animals are rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, and snake.
Horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig — knowing them, icing on the cake.
Now we come to the most important part: typical Chinese new year’s food, served.
Fish the symbol of good luck, wealth and a healthy life, everyone deserves.
Dumplings are traditionally eaten and always enjoyed during that season.
Little round rice flour balls are filled with lucky food, sweets for good reason.
Good luck for the new year is the theme for numerous things done in word and form.
There are many symbols and traditions that you should know to escape scorn.
A word of advice: make sure your plate is never empty – so your luck will not run out!
Do not use a knife or fire for cooking on New Year’s Day — that year you’ll pout.
And now I give to you my Lunar New Year’s wish: happiness, wealth, and prosperity.
I want you to know it’s from the bottom of my heart and given with all sincerity.

Next, February is Heart Healthy Month, which (for me) includes Valentine’s Day, because love is about the heart, as well as loving yourself enough to eat a heart-healthy diet. This is a great segue to the book I will be reviewing: The Truly Easy Heart-Healthy Cookbook by Michelle Routhenstein, who just happens to be my neighbor and friend’s daughter-in-law. I tried two of the recipes and liked both, so I will be posting the review and recipes soon.

Additionally, February is also  Black History Month and I will be featuring Rosa Parks, the woman who started a bus boycott by sitting in the front of the bus, instead of in the back of the bus and became an activist in the Civil Rights Movement.

Also, I will continue to post petitions and info on other environmental issues, like “Fast Fashion” clothes (inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends) piling up in a desert and no place to go. I hope to squeeze in a couple of heart-healthy winter recipes.

Finally, I will be posting my in-person  interview with Dr. Margaux Hein, a marine biologist who just happens to live below my daughter and daughter-in-law ten minutes from here. She and her fiance, Tory Chase, are involved with the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the collapse of the coral reef there.

Margaux Hein & Tory Chase

February is teeming with topics and hoping you will follow my weekly and sometimes bi-weekly postings.


Stay Safe, Stay Warm, Stay Tuned!

Copyright ©2023 Ellen Sue Spicer-Jacobson. | Website by Parrish Digital.