Wild Rice and Lentil Stuffed Acorn Squash

Serves 2


  • 1.5 cups of a wild rice and brown rice blend
  • 1 carton of cremini mushrooms
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce  
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 medium celery stalks
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste


  1. Begin by washing all ingredients. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
  2. Slice the acorn squash in half and remove seeds. Brush the acorn squash with olive oil to coat.
  3. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to the squash and place face up on a baking tray. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
  4. Mice garlic and dice onion. Set aside and let sit for 15 minutes.
  5. Dice celery and peppers and slice mushrooms. Set aside.
  6. Rinse rice and lentils. Set aside.
  7. In a slow cooker, large stock pot, or Instant Pot, add garlic, onion, celery, peppers, mushrooms, rice and lentils. Add in remaining seasonings. Mix well and cook for 2 hours (slow cooker), 1 hour (large stock pot), or 30 minutes (Instant Pot) respectively.
  8. When the acorn squash is fork tender and rice is cooked through, plate by filling the center of the squash with ¾ cup of the rice and vegetable mixture.

Ready to take the next step?

Our Lifestyle Medicine team is here to support you on your journey to better health. Connect with one of our Board-Certified Lifestyle Medicine Specialists today.

Tailgating Recipes

Fresh Corn & Avocado Dip

I alter my sister’s dip recipe by adding finely chopped jalapeno for a little heat. It’s a different way of serving corn as a dip that can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until serving. — Pat Roberts, Thornton, Ontario

Total: 20 min.

Yield:4 cups


2 cups fresh or frozen corn, thawed

1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and diced

1 small peach, peeled and chopped

1 small sweet red pepper, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon lime juice

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano

1 garlic clove, crushed

Salt and pepper to taste

1 minced and seeded jalapeno pepper, optional

baked tortilla chips


1.Combine first 11 ingredients; add salt and pepper and, if desired, jalapeno. Serve with tortilla chips.

Nutrition Facts

1/4 cup (calculated without chips): 52 calories, 3g fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol,

4mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 1g fiber), 1g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1/2 fat.

Slow-Cooker Buffalo Chicken Dip

This healthy copycat recipe for classic Buffalo dip cooks in your slow cooker for an easy, hands-off appetizer you can keep warm for the whole game, party or any casual gathering. Serve with carrot sticks, celery sticks and tortilla chips for dipping.Carolyn Casner

Active: 15 mins

Total: 3 hrs 15 mins

Servings: 16


1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 large onion, chopped

1 large jalapeño pepper, finely chopped

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed

8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese

1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, plus more for garnish

3 tablespoons hot sauce, preferably Frank’s RedHot

Sliced scallions for garnish


Combine broth, onion and jalapeño in a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker. Place chicken on top. Cover and cook on High for 2 1/2 hours. Transfer the chicken to a plate and shred with 2 forks. Cover to keep warm.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1/4 Cup Each Per Serving: 86 calories; protein 8.6g; carbohydrates 2.2g; dietary fiber 0.2g; sugars 1g; fat 4.7g; saturated fat 2.4g; cholesterol 32.8mg; vitamin a iu 212.9IU; vitamin c 1.8mg; folate 7.3mcg; calcium 32.4mg; iron 0.2mg; magnesium 11.1mg; potassium 155.5mg; sodium 183.7mg. Exchanges: 1 Fat, 1 Lean Protein


Sweet Potato Skins with Guacamole

Top crispy sweet potato skins with guacamole for a healthy take on classic potato skins in this easy crowd-pleasing recipe. — Devon O’Brien

Active: 25 mins

Total: 2 hrs

Servings: 8

Ingredients Potato Skins

4 small sweet potatoes

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Ingredients Guacamole & Toppings

1 ripe avocado

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup chopped tomato

2 tablespoons minced red onion

chopped cilantro for garnish


Step 1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Step 2 Tightly wrap sweet potatoes in foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast until very tender, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Carefully unwrap and set aside to cool.

Step 3 Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step 4 Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch border (save the scooped-out flesh for another use). Place the sweet potato halves skin-side up on the prepared baking sheet. Brush with oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake until browned and crisp, 20 to 30 minutes.

Step 5 Cut each skin in half widthwise and return to the baking sheet, skin-side down. Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon Cheddar. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, 8 to 10 minutes.

Step 6 Meanwhile, make the guacamole: Mash avocado in a medium bowl. Stir in lime juice, garlic and salt.

Step 7 Top each sweet potato skin with guacamole, tomato, onion and cilantro, if desired.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 2 Potato Skins Each Per Serving: 117 calories; protein 3g; carbohydrates 9.7g; dietary fiber 2.9g; sugars 2.6g;fat 7.9g; saturated fat 2.2g; cholesterol 7.2mg; vitamin a iu6369.8IU; vitamin c 10.5mg; folate 25.6mcg; calcium 65.1mg;iron 0.4mg; magnesium 19mg; potassium 301.5mg; sodium113.2mg; thiamin 0.1mg. Exchanges: 1 Fat, 1/2 High-Fat Protein, 1/2 Starch


Ginger Chicken Kabobs

Active: 25 mins

Total: 2 hrs 35 mins

Servings: 4


1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons finely snipped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 fresh serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1 teaspoon cooking oil

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garam masala (Optional)

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup fresh pineapple cubes

1/2 medium red sweet pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 medium green sweet pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces


Step 1 Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag set in a shallow dish. Add cilantro, ginger, garlic, serrano pepper, oil, coriander, cumin, salt, garam masala (if desired) and nutmeg to bag. Seal bag. Turn and press bag to coat chicken. Chill for at least 2 hours or up to 6 hours.

Step 2 On eight 10- to 12-inch skewers, alternately thread the chicken, pineapple, red sweet pepper, and green sweet pepper, leaving a 1/4-inch space between pieces.

Step 3 Place kabobs on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals. Grill for 8 to 12 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, turning occasionally to brown evenly.

Tips Handling Chile Peppers

Because chile peppers contain volatile oils that can burn your skin and eyes, avoid direct contact with them as much as possible. When working with chile peppers, wear plastic or rubber gloves. If your bare hands do touch the peppers, wash your hands and nails well with soap and warm water.

Variation Tips

Variation: Broiler Directions: Preheat broiler. Place kabobs on the unheated rack of a broiler pan. Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat for 8 to 12 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, turning occasionally to brown evenly.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 2 Skewers Per Serving: 169 calories; protein 26.9g;carbohydrates 7.9g; dietary fiber 1.4g; sugars 5.1g; fat 2.8g;saturated fat 0.5g; cholesterol 65.8mg; vitamin a iu 1143.5IU;vitamin c 61mg; folate 28.4mcg; calcium 27.9mg; iron 1.2mg;magnesium 42.1mg; potassium 422.9mg; sodium 222.8mg.Exchanges: 3 1/2 Lean Protein, 1/2 Fat, 1/2 Other Carbohydrate


Fresh Corn & Avocado Dip

When to Seek Care for Back and Neck Pain

The U.S. Center for Disease Control recently reported that lower back pain is the leading cause of pain.  Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain.

Back Pain: Acute or Chronic?

Spine issues typically fall into two categories; acute and chronic. Acute pain is considered a new pain occurrence with typically no previously known issues. Often a combination of icing, heat and stretching aids a quick recovery.

Chronic back pain is pain that has been ongoing for weeks, months or even years.  You may have self-treated with a combination of rest, over the counter medications or chiropractic care.  Prolonged rest is no longer a recommended treatment so if your pain persists, a good first step is to talk to your doctor.

When to Get Help

Regardless if the pain is acute or chronic, if you experience any of the following signs and symptoms you should contact your doctor immediately:

  • Constant or intense back pain, especially at night or when you lie down.
  • Pain spreads down one or both legs, especially if the pain extends below your knee.
  • Weakness, numbness or tingling in one or both legs.
  • Occurs with unintended weight loss.
  • Occurs with swelling or redness on your back.

Always seek emergency care if back pain occurs after a high-impact car accident, fall or sports injury; causes new bowel or bladder control issues; or occurs with a fever.

Don’t allow back or neck pain to keep you from the things you love.  St. Joe’s offers a comprehensive Spine Program providing both non-surgical and surgical spine solutions.  Our highly skilled care team includes board certified, fellowship trained doctors and surgeons, as well as a nurse navigator who will help guide you every step of the way.

By: Ahmad Issawi, MD, Board Certified Neurological Surgeon

Ready to Get Back to Your Life?

Schedule an appointment with one of our back pain specialist today.

Five Tips for a Fresh Fall

Crisp air, colorful leaves, plaid, soups and pumpkin spice are staples signifying a new season is upon us – Fall. Think of the new season as a fresh start to incorporating some healthier lifestyle tips. Try out some of these ideas for a fantastic fall:

  1. Pick-up some fresh fall produce like pumpkins, beets, sweet potatoes and squash and add them into a dish.
  2. Get your flu shot. This is the best way to prevent the flu.
  3. Take in mother nature by being more active and going for a run, hike or a bike ride.
  4. Scare off those Halloween candy cravings by lowering your sugar intake. Our tip is to buy only what you need and keep it out of sight in a cabinet.
  5. Give back and consider volunteering to support the local community.

At St. Joe’s, we want you to enjoy your healthiest autumn yet by incorporating some of these tips and connecting with your health care team. If you don’t have a provider, we can help you find one today. Find a St. Joe’s doctor here.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In the US, 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. There’re additional factors such as family history or a previous atypical biopsy that can increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.

Diagnosing breast cancer early is key. Here are ways to identify abnormalities: 

  • Performing monthly self-exams
  • Scheduling annual mammograms
  • Talking with your provider

Don’t overlook your routine health screenings. After all, staying on a healthy course and detecting health concerns early is important. Screening mammography significantly reduces a woman’s risk of dying from breast cancer.

Mammograms begin at age 40 for most women, but at high risk of breast cancer may need to start earlier.

Talk to your St. Joe’s doctor about your risk for breast cancer.

Healthy Tips to Protect Against the Flu

Kids are back-in-school and all the fall activities are just around the corner.  Don’t let cold and flu season ruin your fun. Here are six tips to prevent catching and spreading the flu:

  1. Get a flu vaccine. Check with your doctor’s office and schedule a visit.
  2. Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap.
  3. Avoid touching your face.
  4. Get your ZZZs! Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
  5. Exercise to boost your immunity and your energy.
  6. Eat healthy and drink water. If you do happen to get sick, staying well-hydrated is important for your recovery.

Preparing for Flu Season: COVID Boosters & Flu Vaccines

COVID-19 & Flu: What you should know

The flu and COVID-19 have some similarities in symptoms. How are they similar? Both COVID-19 and the flu can share these symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath, tiredness, sore throat, runny nose, body aches and stomach issues.

If you feel sick with any of those symptoms, or if you’ve been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, please speak with your primary care physician to get a plan to keep yourself and others safe. COVID-19 seems to be spreading more easily than the flu.

Per the CDC, as more people become fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the spread of the virus should slow down. St. Joe’s is taking extra precautions at our facilities to keep you safe.

CDC Recommends Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Booster for Certain Individuals

The FDA expanded the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer vaccine to be administered at least six months after initial completion of the primary vaccine series.

Booster dose eligibility:

  • Individuals 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster
  • People aged 50-64 with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster
  • People aged 18-49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster based on their individual benefits and risks
  • People aged 18-64 years who are at an increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster

Still need your COVID-19 vaccine or looking for a place to get your booster shot?

Find a location near you to get your COVID-19 vaccine or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Booster.

Need a flu vaccine or help finding a doctor?

Schedule your annual check-up and get vaccinated while you’re at the doctor’s office. Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself from illness.

Get Back to Your Rhythm: The Convergent Procedure for Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation, or AFib, is the most common type of heart arrythmia or irregular heartbeat affecting 2.7 to 6.1 million people in the United States.

About AFib, Its Signs, and Symptoms

AFib is an electrical problem of the heart that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.

When someone has AFib, the electrical signals in the top chambers of the heart (or atria) have become irregular which can lead to a faster heart rate in the bottom chambers of the heart (or ventricles). When the heart isn’t fully and effectively pumping blood through the body, normal activity can become tiring, make breathing challenging, or cause dizziness.

Common risk factors for AFib include high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, sleep apnea, and heavy alcohol use. People can develop AFib even if they don’t have any of these risk factors and lead a healthy lifestyle. This is why early treatment is the key to managing AFib.

Learn more about the signs and symptoms of AFib. Watch our AFib video.

Treating AFib: The Convergent Procedure

Many treatment options exist for AFib including medications, medical procedures, or a combination of the two. For patients with persistent AFib that doesn’t respond to medical therapy or prior ablation attempts, a hybrid combined ablation, more commonly known as the Convergent Procedure, might be an option.

What is the Convergent Procedure?

It’s a staged procedure that combines minimally invasive surgery and catheter-based ablation. For this procedure, a cardiac surgeon and a cardiologist work side-by-side to create scar tissue within the heart. This scarring blocks abnormal electrical signals to restore a normal heart rhythm. The surgeon may also seal a part of the heart called the left atrial appendage which can lower your stroke risk.

What are the benefits of the Convergent procedure?

Many patients are able to reduce or eliminate the use of some medications, including anticoagulants after having the Convergent procedure. They are also significantly more likely to be in a normal heart rhythm long-term compared with catheter ablation alone.

Who qualifies?

This procedure is ideal for patients with paroxysmal or persistent atrial fibrillation who have failed prior ablation or medical management and it only requires a two-night stay in the hospital. If you’ve been diagnosed with AFib talk to your doctor to see if Convergent is a treatment option for you.

*If you think you may be experiencing a heart attack or medical emergency – call 911.

Ready to get back to your rhythm?

Schedule an appointment with one of our heart doctors today.

Nancy Wright lost 138 pounds

Nancy lost 138 pounds

At 362 pounds, Nancy had developed type 2 diabetes and was having difficulty walking. Her primary care doctor suggested she make an appointment with MBI.

Although initially resistant to the idea of bariatric surgery, Nancy was unhappy and knew she had to make a change in her lifestyle. Nancy and the MBI team worked together to create a customized plan for her. In May 2019, Nancy had her bariatric surgery.

Now, Nancy goes to the gym every day and is off all of her medications. “Bariatric surgery is a journey and you have to make the decision to be all in,” said Nancy.