Diva Musing: Thoughts on Anti- Inflammatory Foods…

Inflammation is at the root of many chronic diseases, but you can fight it with food. Arm yourself with knowledge, and then use these delicious, disease-fighting recipes from my cookbook, Meals that Heal.
By Carolyn Williams, PhD, RD
Top 8 Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Eat Leafy greens (romaine, arugula, spinach, kale)
  1. Extra-virgin olive oil
  2. Berries
  3. Cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts)
  4. Fatty fish (salmon)
  5. Green tea
  6. Fermented and probiotic-rich foods (yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi)
  7. Nuts and seeds
Top 8 Pro-Inflammatory Foods to Avoid
  1. Foods high in saturated and trans fats
  2. Foods with added sugars and/or artificial sweeteners
  3. Fried foods
  4. Processed foods
  5. Cured and processed meats
  6. Alcohol in excess
  7. Caffeine in excess
  8. High omega-6 to omega-3 ratios
From Subtle to Serious
Think of initial chronic inflammation as a small fire in the body. It’s localized and not yet severe. Poor food choices trigger inflammation that can result in slightly higher than normal blood sugar or blood pressure.
But just like how sparks from a small fire can create a second or third fire, this initial inflammation can increase the body’s sensitivity, making it easier for irritants to result in inflammation in another area of the body. Poor food choices, combined with stress and inactivity, can trigger inflammation in the form of weight gain, hypertension, and/or insulin resistance.
If these small fires aren’t put out, more fires start, and they become one large systemic blaze. In the body, symptoms become more noticeable. If nothing changes, inflammation pushes the body to serious conditions, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Diva Tasting: Air-Fry Egg Rolls…

Air-fry Egg Rolls 
1 Lb Lean Ground Beef Browned to Crumbly and Drained
4 Green Onions, Thinly Sliced
1 Small Package Slaw Mix
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 (16 Ounce) Package Egg Roll Wrappers
Cooking Spray
  1. Mix salt, cumin, and garlic powder together in a ramekin for the filling.
  2. Brown beef with spices and drain. Cook cabbage and onions in beef drippings and drain.
  3. In a large bowl combine all and mix well.
  4. Lay an egg roll wrapper at an angle. Use your finger to lightly moisten all 4 edges with water. Place about 1/4 cup of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Fold 1 corner over filling and tuck in the sides to form a roll. Repeat with remaining wrappers and mist each egg roll with cooking spray front and back.
  5. Preheat an air fryer to 390 degrees F (199 degrees C). Place egg rolls in the basket, making sure they are not touching; cook in batches if necessary. Fry for 8 minutes; flip and cook until skins are crispy, about 4 minutes more.
Variation: If you do not have an air fryer you may place on a parchment lined baking sheet and spray both sides with cooking oil and bake until golden brown. About 15 Minutes. You may also substitute pop corn shrimp for the beef and prepare the same way.

Diva Tasting: Herbed Pork Chops…

Herbed Pork Chops
4 Thick-Cut Pork Chops
1 Teaspoon Montreal Steak Seasoning, Or To Taste
½ Cup Butter, Divided
3 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour, Or As Needed
1 Tablespoon Dried Basil
1 Teaspoon Instant Beef Bouillon Granules
1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Cups Milk
Step 1 Season pork chops on all sides with Montreal steak seasoning.
Step 2 Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook chops in melted butter until browned and slightly pink in the center, about 7 to 10 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 145 degrees F (63 degrees C). Add remaining butter to the pan as needed so that about 3 tablespoons pan drippings remain in the pan when the chops are finished cooking. Transfer pork chops to a plate and return skillet to medium-high heat.
Step 3 Mix flour, basil, and beef bouillon together in a bowl. Stir black pepper into skillet with the pan drippings and cook for 1 minute. Add flour mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until browned, about 2 minutes. Pour milk into flour mixture; cook and stir constantly until mixture is thick and bubbly, 4 to 6 minutes. Pour sauce over pork chops and serve with garlic mashed potatoes or cauliflower, cream spinach, rolls and beverage.

Diva Tasting: Greek Lemon Chicken and Vegetable Bake…

Greek Lemon Chicken and Vegetable Bake
  • 6 Chicken Leg Quarters
  • 1 (24 Ounce) Bag Small Red Fingerling Potatoes
  • ½ Cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Lemons, Juiced, Divided
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Basil
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Greek Seasoning
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Asparagus Cut On Bias
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Grease a large baking sheet with sides.
Place chicken quarters on prepared baking sheet. Stir potatoes, olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and lemon herb seasoning together in a large bowl to coat potatoes. Arrange potatoes around chicken on baking sheet. Pour about 3/4 of oil mixture over chicken, reserving remaining oil; drizzle remaining lemon juice over chicken and potatoes.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes; shake baking sheet to loosen potatoes, then continue baking for 15 minutes. Place asparagus in reserved oil mixture; toss to coat. Remove chicken mixture from oven; pour seasoned asparagus over chicken and potatoes.
Return pan to the oven; bake until asparagus is tender with a bite, chicken is no longer pink at the bone and juices run clear, about 20 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Serve with Pita and tzatziki.



Diva Tasting: Bruschetta Chicken Bake…

Bruschetta Chicken Bake
2 Pounds Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breast Halves – Cubed
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 (15 Ounce) Can Diced Tomatoes With Juice
½ Cup Water
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
1 (6 Ounce) Box Chicken-Flavored Dry Bread Stuffing Mix
2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
Stir together tomatoes, water, garlic, and stuffing mix in a large bowl; set aside to soften. When dressing is softened, combine all ingredients including chicken and one cup cheese in a large mixing bowl and fold together.
Spread all in sprayed baking pan, top with remaining cup of cheese. Bake uncovered until the chicken cubes have turned white and are no longer pink in the center, about 35-40 minutes.

Diva Tasting:

Honey-Garlic Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs


  • 6 Skinless, Boneless Chicken Thighs
  • ½ Cup Soy Sauce
  • ½ Cup Ketchup
  • Cup Honey
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Basil


Lay chicken thighs into the bottom of a 4-quart slow cooker.

Whisk soy sauce, ketchup, honey, garlic, and basil together in a bowl; pour over the chicken. Cook on Low for 6 hours. Serve with rice and vegetables.

Diva Tasting: Chicken Achiote…

Chicken Achiote Oven 375°
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons Achiote Paste
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until oil is shimmering. Cook garlic in oil for no more than 30 seconds. Add all of the chicken to the pot; cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is browned all over. About 5 Minutes.
In a small bowl, pour in soy sauce, vinegar, and water, and achiote paste and whisk. Pour over chicken and stir to coat. Place Dutch Oven in preheated oven and simmer for 1 hour, or until chicken is very tender. Serve with Mexican rice and refried beans.
NOTE: Achitote Paste: Recado rojo or achiote paste is a popular blend of spices. It is now strongly associated with Mexican and Belizean cuisines, especially of Yucatán and Oaxaca. The spice mixture usually includes annatto, oregano, cumin, clove, cinnamon, black pepper, allspice, garlic, and salt. (This paste may also be purchased at your local Mexican grocery or made from recipe below.
  • 5 Tablespoons Achiote (annatto) Seeds
  • 2 Teaspoons Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon Black Peppercorns
  • 8 Whole Allspice Berries
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Whole Cloves
  • 3 Habanero Peppers, Seeded
  • 1/2 Cup Orange Juice
  • 1/2 Cup White Vinegar
  • 8 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Salt
  • 5 Lemons, Juiced
  • 1 Teaspoon Premium Tequila Or Vodka
  1. With a spice grinder, grind the annatto seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, allspice berries, and cloves to a fine powder.
  2. Food processor, mix the ground spices, habanero peppers, orange juice, vinegar, garlic, and salt. Blend until smooth. Mix in the lemon juice and liquor. Store in Refrigerator in a glass jar.