Healthy at Home: Thanksgiving Edition


  • Feeds: 10-12
  • Ready In: 3.5 hours

Prepare the turkey.

  • One 10-15 lb turkey

First things first, preheat the over to 475 degrees. Then spray a large roasting pan with olive oil or cooking spray. Open the turkey over a clean sink or on a large cutting board. (This will make it easier to clean and disinfect the working area you use for the raw turkey.)  Remove any giblets or the neck from inside the turkey. Set them aside. Place the turkey, breast side up, in the roasting pan and pat it dry with paper towels.

Add the seasonings.

  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary (chopped, plus 10 sprigs)
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano (chopped, plus 10 sprigs of thyme, sage, and/or oregano)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Combine chopped herbs with oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Spread this mixture all over the turkey, including inside the turkey. Place about 10 sprigs of fresh herbs inside the turkey and the remaining herb sprigs around the base of the turkey in the roasting pan.

Add the aromatics and roast the turkey.

  • 2 lemons (cut into large chunks, with the peel)
  • 1 orange (cut into large chunks, with the peel)
  • 1 apple (cut into large chunks, with the peel)
  • 2 white onions (cut into large chunks)

Place inside the turkey. For any pieces that won’t fit inside the turkey, place them around the turkey in the roasting pan. Tuck the tips of the turkey wings under the turkey to keep them from browning too quickly and if you have kitchen twine, tie the turkey legs together. (If you don’t have kitchen twine, don’t worry about this part.)  Pour 3 cups of water into the roasting pan around the base of the turkey. (If cooking the giblets and/or turkey neck, you can add them now around the base of the turkey.) Roast the turkey at 475 degrees for 45 minutes, and the skin will become golden brown.

Reduce heat and roast longer.

Remove the turkey from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Place a double layer of foil just over the turkey breasts (this will keep them from drying out — just cut the foil to fit only the breast area). Place the turkey back in the oven and roast for another 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours (if the liquid in the pan dries up, you can add another cup of water). The turkey is done when a meat thermometer registers 165 degrees in the thickest part of the turkey, such as the thigh.  Let the turkey “rest” for 20 minutes before serving.
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November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes Rates Continue To Rise—Are You at Risk?

During National Diabetes Awareness Month, the Greater Joliet Area YMCA strongly encourages residents of Will County to learn their risks for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and to take preventive steps to potentially reduce their chances of developing the disease.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that more than one in three Americans (84 million people) has prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Only 10 percent of those with prediabetes know they have it but with awareness and simple actions, people with prediabetes may prevent the onset of diabetes.

Individuals can assess their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes by taking a simple test at Through this assessment, visitors can also learn how lifestyle choices and family history help determine the ultimate risk of developing the disease. Several factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include race, age, weight and activity level. If a person is at risk, a diabetes screening conducted by a physician can confirm a diabetes or prediabetes diagnosis.

Making some basic lifestyle changes that contribute to weight loss and healthy living can decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes. Among these are:

  • Eat fruits and vegetables every day.
  • Choose fish, lean meats and poultry without skin.
  • Aim for whole grains with every meal.
  • Be moderately active, getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week.
  • Choose water to drink instead of beverages with added sugar.
  • Speak to your doctor about your diabetes risk factors, especially if you have a family history or are overweight.

The Greater Joliet Area YMCA aims to prevent prediabetes and type 2 diabetes through the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). Featuring a CDC-approved curriculum, the yearlong program includes 16 weekly sessions, plus additional monthly sessions, in a classroom-based setting. The goal is to help participants reduce their body weight by seven percent and increase their activity level to 150 minutes per week. A new program session is set to get underway in January 2018.

Healthy at Home: Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chicken Chili

Is there a better seasonal comfort food than chili? We don’t think so. This fall, swap ground beef for chicken and try this chili recipe with a twist.


3 skinless boneless chicken breasts
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 1/2 cups, cut into bite-size pieces, no need to peel)
1 cup carrots (chopped)
1/2 cup yellow onion (chopped)
1 red bell pepper (chopped)
1 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth (or low-sodium vegetable broth)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper
1 chipotle chile in adobo (chopped, plus 1 tsp of chipotle sauce)
1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans (low sodium, rinsed and drained)
2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes (low sodium)

Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker and add the rest of the ingredients.  Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours. When done, use 2 forks to shred the chicken while it is in the slow cooker. Stir to combine.

Shared with permission from Zonya Foco, RD. For more real food recipes, visit

“Healthy at Home” is a series of healthy recipes curated by Morris Hospital Clinical Dietitian Liz Fischer.

Member Spotlight: The Wright Family of Morris

Meet the Wrights, a true Y Family.

Missie and Mike (Mom and Dad) and Libby and Charlie (The Kids) have been active Y participants since 2010, approximately five years before the Morris Y opened its doors on Wauponsee Street. Even without a physical presence in the community, the Y found a special place in their hearts through yearly basketball leagues and summer sports camps.

“The Y filled a void that loomed in our community,” Missie says. “We don’t have a Parks and Recreation Department, so in the past, I would have to leave Morris to fulfill our interests. Now that we have the YMCA established in Grundy County, I see it addressing the wants and needs of a much larger spectrum, which is invaluable. The Y promotes healthy living, while building a real sense of community with members and non-members alike.”

Today, their bond with the Y is stronger than ever. The Wrights support the Y’s mission by contributing to the Annual Campaign and attending the annual Giving Gala. By supporting these initiatives, the Wrights are helping the Y reach more and more people in Grundy County and ensuring Y services are accessible for all.

“The Y brings people together in a positive environment, and while doing so they are building confidence, acceptance and wellness,” Missie says. “It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Member Spotlight: Patricia Cravens of Mazon

Patricia Cravens has been a member of the Morris YMCA since the day it opened. Looking back, the timing couldn’t have been better. At the time, she had been looking for a local gym to join. Then she heard about the Y’s partnership with her employer Morris Hospital and jumped at the opportunity to enroll. Through the partnership, Morris Hospital provides free Y memberships to employees who meet utilization requirements.

“The YMCA is the perfect gym for me,” she says. “It feels like home.”

Patricia visits the Y between three or four days per week. Oftentimes, she uses the treadmill, arc trainer, row machine and free weights. But it’s the yoga classes that keep her coming back.

“I have tried several of the group programs and I especially love the yoga classes,” she says. “The stretching, strengthening and balance exercises have helped me so much. My lower back pain has completely resolved after participating regularly in yoga class. All the instructors are wonderful and patient and take the time to make sure you have correct form.”

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