Friday, December 28, 2012

Elf for Health: Week 5 Overview

Round 2 of Elf for Health was so fun!  I love connecting with other elves on Twitter, the Facebook group, and Instagram.  Seeing what everyone is posting with their challenges is motivating to be better and healthier for myself.  It is wonderful! Thank you Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean and Elle @ Nutrition Ella for creating this wonderful program!!

My elf for this round is absolutely wonderful!  Esther @ Pink and Purple Lemonade has been tweeting and posting about her challenges.  She has been so motivating and inspiring that it makes me want to do better with my own challenges.  I have been slacking on posting my challenges daily because I have been enjoying the holidays with my family.  Here are the challenges for this week:
  • Monday: Call friends just to chat
  • Tuesday: Go for a walk with a family member
  • Wednesday: Find 3 things you love about yourself
  • Thursday: Make a list of 20 things you're thankful for
  • Friday: Make a healthy microwave mug cake
  • Weekend: Take some time for yourself
Monday was extremely hectic with Christmas Eve festivities that I didn't get a chance to call anyone (but I did text people wishing them a Merry Christmas!!).  I enjoyed spending time and celebrating Christmas with my extended family.  We played bingo for gag gifts (a new tradition started by my Nana) and I won twice!

Charlie the doxie pup

On Tuesday, myself, mom, sister, and Charlie the doxie pup went on a walk in our neighborhood.  It was a beautiful day!  Even though we had spent all morning opening gifts and talking, the walk allowed us to calm down from all of the excitement and talk. 

Wednesday's Challenge: Find 3 things you love about yourself
  • My eyes - I love the hazel blue color and the long lashes (thank you Mom!!)
  • My long legs - even though I am only 5'4" tall, my legs make me feel taller than I actually am.  They also come in handy when I get the chance to exercise
  • My hair - even though it doesn't hold ANY curl like I wish it would, it is soft, full and healthy
Thursday's Challenge: 20 things I am thankful for
  1. Family
  2. Friends
  3. Roof over my head
  4. Food in my refrigerator
  5. Health - especially during my internship because if I get sick, I'll have to make up those hours.  Hard to do with a hectic schedule
  6. Education - Marshall University Dietetic Internship and Master's program, graduating in July!
  7. Reliable car that allows me to get to my dietetic rotations
  8. Ability to cook
  9. My comfortable bed
  10. My professors - they are so supportive of myself and fellow students.  They are what make the dietetic program great!
  11. Wine (especially red wine)
  12. Dark chocolate
  13. Soy milk - because I'm lactose intolerant
  14. Access to healthy food - this includes our new local co-op market The Wild Ramp!
  15. Travel experiences - allows me to see and experience more than what is in Huntington, WV (smallish community with little diversity)
  16. My dog Charlie - even though I have only had him since Thanksgiving, he brings me joy and motivates me to go on walks
  17. Audio books - with lots driving I get tired to just listening to music.
  18. Kitchenaid Stand Mixer (LOVE IT!!)
  19. Peanut Butter & Co's Chocolate Peanut Butter - tree nut allergy doesn't let me have chocolate hazelnut spread.  Found a delicious alternative!
  20. My cookbook collection, that is still growing!!

I will probably do today's challenge of making a healthy microwave mug cake this weekend as a treat to myself. I've spent this week at my parents and am going back home this evening.  This weekend I am going to be cleaning and reorganizing the apartment, which I do consider "me time."  I have Christmas gifts to find homes for, including a new food processor/blender (YAY!).

Can't wait to start on week 6's challenges on Monday!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dietetic Internship Community Rotations: 17 Weeks

This week I will be wrapping up my final week of my 17 week community rotations.  I have been rotating through weight management, bariatric surgery, WIC, long-term care, nutrition education, diabetes, and  research.  These past weeks have been a blur of information.  I have learned so much information during each rotation that by the end of the day I felt like my head was about to explode.  The exhaustion at the end of the day is worth it because I know that I am going into a field that I love.

So far, the rotations I enjoyed the most were weight management and bariatric surgery.  Everyone has a different story on how they got to where they are and why they want to lose their excess weight.   Because of their uniqueness, their weight loss journey is more individualized.  Each conversation with patients will have the same basic structure, but they will still be different because each person has different struggles and strengths.  Additionally, because this population tend to want to change, they are more apt to come to their appointments.

I have discovered several aspects I do not enjoy about outpatient care.  I don't like experiencing not knowing if a patient is going to show up for an appointment.  This happened a lot during my diabetes rotation.  Patients had to make an appointment to see a registered dietitian to learn how to manage their diabetes, but during the two weeks I was there, only 40% of the scheduled patients showed up for their appointments. 

Starting in the new year, I will be starting 7 weeks of foodservice rotations.  I'm not sure what to expect, but it is rumored that there will be days I to report by 5AM.  Those will be not fun mornings!

But it's all worth it... right?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Protein Packed Breakfast Burritos

There is a rumor floating around the dietetic interns that we have to report to our preceptor sites at 5AM.  If that is true, it is going to be a rough 7 weeks. But I don't care because the stress and early mornings are well worth it because in the end I'll be able to sit for my board exams and work in the field I love.

But if the 5AM rumor is true, I want to make my mornings go as smooth as possible.  Between taking Charlie the doxie pup out, making breakfast, and getting ready, I need to find some areas to cut out, so I looked at what I can do with breakfast.  I find that the most filling breakfasts take a little bit of time to make and eat, at least with my schedule.  I decided to find something that would be filling, healthy, and EASY!  But, I also wanted something that I could take with me.

Sorry for my iPhone quality photo!
That's where the breakfast burritos come to me.  I hate buying something that I could easily make.  Besides, processed meals are way too salty for me and I never stay full for longThese burritos taste just like the store bought ones, but better.  Way better.  So much so that when I took a taster bite I knew I had to have an entire burrito right then.  Boy was I glad I did! Delicious!! And the best part was that I stayed full for a long time, which is exactly what I wanted.  So I'll make a batch of these pop them in the freezer and reheat for my early morning breakfast.

Here's the thing about this recipe, as delicious as these burritos are this recipe makes a ton! 14 burritos in fact.  I found that it's easier to make the entire recipe than to use half a can of black beans and half a package of sausage.  Plus, do the work once and be set for 2 weeks.  Enjoy!

Protein Packed Breakfast Burritos
Inspired by Amanda's Cookin'
Makes 14 burritos 

1 lb Turkey Breakfast Sausage, preferably reduced something if you can find it
1 large Onion, chopped
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Anaheim or Poblano Pepper
1 can Low Sodium Black Beans, drained
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese (or cheese of choice)
8 Eggs
1 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Cumin
14 Whole Wheat Tortillas Burrito Size
  1. Turn broiler onto high.  Char peppers on all sides, about 10 minutes total.  Remove from broiler, wrap in foil to let it steam, and let sit for 5-10 minutes.  While the pepper is steaming, prepare sausage mixture.
  2. In a pan over medium high heat, cook sausage until browned, about 5 minutes.  Drain excess fat if necessary.
  3. Add onions and garlic.  Cook until onions are soft, about 3 minutes.
  4. Remove the skin and seeds from the pepper and chop.
  5. Add the chopped pepper and black beans to the pan.  Cook for 5 minutes, until beans are warmed through.
  6. Remove sausage mixture from the pan and place in a bowl.  Add the cheese.  Stir to combine.
  7. Wipe the pan with a paper towel.  Add the butter.
  8. When melted, add the eggs, salt, pepper, and cumin.  Scramble the eggs and cook to 90% done.  Remove from heat.
  9. Add the sausage mixture to the eggs.  Stir to combine.
  10. Spoon 1/3 cup of the mixture onto the middle of the burrito.  Fold in the sides and roll up.  Wrap in wax paper and tape sealed.  Continue with the remaining burrito shells.  
  11. Place the burritos into a labeled freezer bag.  Freeze when the burritos are completely cooled.
  12. To thaw: remove from wax paper and microwave for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. 
Nutrition Content
261 Total Fat: 11.3 g Sodium: 559 mg Total Carb: 25.1 g Fiber: 5.7 g Protein: 15.0 g Vitamin C: 15% DV Calcium: 20% DV Iron: 14% DV

    Wednesday, December 5, 2012

    Elf For Health - Round 2

    After two weeks of debating, I have signed up for Elf for Health. I don't know what took me so long to decide, but all the Instagram posts The Lean Green Bean, The Lemon Bowl, and Nutrition Ella have been posting the past two weeks definitely encouraged me to take the plunge. Their pictures made me want to be an elf for someone by supporting them through their goals and challenges, and have my own elf for the same support. I'm pretty excited to take part in the daily challenges, which include supporting a local charity, cleaning out your fridge and pantry, and working out. 


    So, what exactly is Elf for Health? Every two weeks, you are assigned a buddy, who is also your elf. You support your buddy through their health challenges and daily goals. You are required to email your buddy twice a week–Monday and another day in the week. You emails can be anything supportive! Tips and tricks, encouraging messages, funny cartoons to lift their spirits. ANYTHING! Every two weeks you sign up for a new buddy to support and a new round begins. Wanna participate? Head over to The Lean Green Bean's or Nutrition Ella's sites for more information about participating and to sign up!

    Needless to say, I am quite excited to receive my buddy and participate in Round 2. Additionally, I have found I love virtually meeting new people and expanding my blogger network (which is currently quite small).

    Friday, November 30, 2012

    November Foodie Pen Pals Reveal Day

    This month I participated for the first time in a program all foodies should take part in: Foodie Pen Pals.  When I first heard about the program several weeks ago, I was intrigued.  I love talking food with people who share the same interest.  So what is it do you ask?  Foodie Pen Pals was started in 2011 by Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean.  It is where you send your assigned pen pal a goodie box of food products that is worth $15 along with something handwritten (maybe a recipe or an explanation of the things you sent).  These foods can be any thing of your choice, depending on your pen pal's dietary needs of course.  At the beginning of every month, you get paired up with your pen pal.  It is your responsibility to email them to find out what their dietary needs are, likes, dislikes, and so on.  You mail out your goodie box by the 15th of the month, and if you are a blogger, you write about the box you received at the end of the month.  Blog readers, you can take part too!  Fun right??  How do you get involved?  Click the link below.  But for the month of December, FPP is taking a hiatus to raise money to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.  Click HERE for more information and to get involved.

    FPP post Foodie Penpals

    I had such a blast in my first month of participating.  This month I received a goodie box from Margaret from Raleigh, NC.  She emailed me the day we received our matching (which I loved!) and felt she was very thorough in her questions on what to choose for me.  Once November 15th came, I anxiously awaited for my goodie box.  When it came, I could not wait to open it. 

    She sent me sweet potato crackers (delicious!), homemade roasted peanut butter with honey and salt (yum!), pomegranate molasses, Escazu chocolate, and a very sweet card explaining her goodies.  She said the pomegranate molasses is commonly used in Middle Eastern dishes.  I cannot wait to try this out!  I will admit that I took a finger swipe of it and the taste is indescribable!  I will be sad the day it runs out, but there are many recipes that explain how to make it.  Looks to be pretty easy.  Honestly, if Michelle didn't send me some I probably wouldn't have thought it would be worth the trouble making some! THANK YOU, MARGARET!!

    I haven't tasted the Escazu chocolate yet.  Saving it for a weekend at home, on the couch, catching up on my TV shows.  Dietetic internship keeps me pretty busy and can't stay awake past 9:30pm to watch anything.  So far, what I love about this chocolate is that they include a batch number on each bar and that they are a local producer that cares about their product.  I'll be sad the day I finish this chocolate.  Can't wait for the next FPP starting in January; meanwhile, participate in Foodie Pen Pals for Hurricane Sandy

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

    Kielbasa Cabbage

    It wasn't until last new years that I finally gave cabbage a chance.  I think this feeling mostly comes from my only childhood memory of cabbage.  Growing up Dad would make huge batches of Hungarian cabbage rolls.  When I say huge, I mean a 10 quart soup pot filled with cabbage rolls.  My sister and I did not eat any of them (we thought they stunk), which left my parents eating them for dinner that week.  And maybe for lunch the next.  I always knew when Dad was making them because the smell would wake me up on Sunday morning.  And I wouldn't come out of my room the rest of the day.

    But on New Year's Day, I had some of the best cabbage I've ever had.  It had the perfect balance of sweet and bitter.  The cabbage had a nice crunch to it still.  And it was all rounded out by the sausage and potatoes.  This recipe is very simple to make and the longer it sits in the fridge, the better it tastes (even cold).

    Kielbasa Cabbage
    Makes 8 servings

    1 lb Kielbasa Turkey Sausage, cut into 1/2 inch slices
    4 tbsp Butter or Olive Oil, divided
    1 large Cabbage, coarsely chopped
    1 large Onion, chopped
    3-4 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
    4 Red Potatoes, cubed
    1 tsp Paprika

    1. Add cubed potatoes to a pot.  Add water until just covered.  Add salt.  Cook until potatoes are tender.
    2. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp butter.  Add sausage.  Cook until browned, about 5 minutes  Remove and set aside.
    3. Add remaining butter to pot.  Sauté cabbage, onions, and garlic until soft, about 10-15 minutes.
    4. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika.  I like to add plenty of pepper.
    5. Combine cabbage, sausage, and potatoes.
    Nutrition Content
    Calories: 266 Total Fat: 12.6 g Sodium: 665 mg Total Carb: 28.4 g Fiber: 5.7 g Protein: 12.8 g Vitamin C: 110% DV Calcium: 10% DV
    11% DV

    Sunday, November 25, 2012

    Homemade Fruit and Nut Bars

    I feel like there are TONS of recipes for granola bars and energy bars out there, and yes, this is another one.  But what I love about this recipe is the ease and versatility of it.  This recipe is one that my mother found (found here) and adapted to her tastes.  Unfortunately for me, I cannot eat them due to a tree nut allergy, but every time she makes them while I'm home, I enjoy the aroma they put off in the house.  And they are also pretty.

    Now you can buy these energy bars but making these guys is pretty simple.  Additionally, these have bigger pieces of fruit, nuts, and seeds, which I feel gives them more substance.  According to Mother, they taste fresher and hold her over until lunch.

    Homemade Fruit and Nut Bars
    Adapted from Enlightened Cooking

    1/3 cup Toasted or Raw nuts, used roasted mixed nut blend, coarsely chopped
    1/2 cup Seeds, used pepitas
    1/2 cup Dried Fruit, used dried cranberries and golden raisins
    1/8 tsp fine sea salt (omit if using salted nuts)
    1/3 cup Brown Rice Syrup or Lite Cane Syrup (honey will not work, bars will be sticky instead of crispy)
    1/4 cup Mini Dark Chocolate Chips
    1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line a 9-inch square pan with foil and lightly spray with nonstick spray (do not skip this step!).
    2. In a medium bowl, combine the chopped nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and salt.
    3. Add the syrup and stir to coat.
    4. Scrape mixture into prepared pan.  To press it out evenly use a sprayed piece of foil the size of the pan and spread evenly into pan. 
    5. Bake for 18 minutes.  The bars will not be hard at this point. 
    6. Place pan on cooling rack and let cool for 15-20 minutes until partially set up.  Use the sides of foil to lift the bars from the pan.  Do not try to remove from foil because they will stick like crazy.  Cut into 12 bars.
    7. Flip bars over to let the syrup seep back into the bars. 
    8. Once cooled, wrap in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.  
    Makes 12 bars

    Nutrition Content
    Calories: 116 Total Fat: 6.1 g Sodium: 15 mg Total Carb: 15.2 g Fiber: 1.1 g Protein: 2.3 g

    Monday, November 19, 2012

    Asian Dumplings

    I have been searching for a potsticker recipe for quite some time. Every recipe I came across had too many cons for my tastes.  This long and unsuccessful search led me to combining several recipes into one rather tasty finger food.

    These little dumplings are rather addictive. They are good hot. Cold. As a late night snack. Breakfast even? Honestly, this filling can be changed so easily and by what’s in season that I probably could not get tired of eating these little lovelies.  When I first made these, they were vegetarian, and I used half of a medium sized head of cabbage plus the rest of the listed ingredients (recipe below).  This recipe contains pork, which I substituted half of the cabbage for half a pound of ground pork.  Just as tasty and filling.

    Another reason I absolutely love this recipe is that it gives me an excuse to pull out my super duper, fancy schmancy stand mixer (I think we all know what mixer every cook/baker wants to have on their kitchen counter) and make some homemade wonton wrappers.  Yes, I made my own wonton wrappers.  Yes, I know I can go out and buy a package of 50 wrappers for $2.50 and cut the prep time in half.  But where’s the fun in that?  The recipe I used (found here) makes about 75 wrappers (depending on size and shape) for less than one dollar.  My recipe and tips to follow in a future post.

    I want to freeze these bad boys so I can have them any time I want.  I'll update this post when I do that.

    Asian Potstickers
    Adapted from Williams-Sonoma and Om Nom Ally

    50-75 Wonton Wrappers 

    1/2 pound Ground Pork
    2 cups Cabbage, cored and finely chopped (about 1/4 medium cabbage)
    3 Scallions, finely chopped
    1/2 cup Carrots, finely chopped
    1 medium Zucchini, grated
    1 inch Ginger, grated
    2 large Garlic Cloves, grated
    1-2 tsp Rice Vinegar
    2 tbsp Soy Sauce
    1 tbsp Hoisin
    1/8 tsp Sesame Oil
    2-3 tsp Salt (about 1 tsp for every cup of cabbage)
    1/2 - 1 tsp Chili Garlic Paste (optional)

    Dipping Sauce
    ~ 1/8 cup Soy or Teriyaki Sauce
    1/8 - 1/4 tsp Chili Garlic Paste (depending on how spicy)
    1 tsp Rice Vinegar
    2 tsp Hoisin

    1. Using a food processor, process cabbage until finely chopped.  Place cabbage in a large bowl. Add salt.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Using a towel, squeeze out the liquid and place back into bowl.
    2. Grate the zucchini. Using a towel, squeeze out the liquid. Add to cabbage.
    3. Cut the carrot and scallions into the food processor and process until finely chopped. Add to cabbage.
    4. To cabbage, add ground pork, ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin, and sesame oil. Mix until well combined.
    5. On each wonton square, place 2 teaspoons of filling. Dip finger or basting brush into water and cover the out edges of the wrapper. Fold together while squeezing out excess air. Continue this process with remaining dumplings.
    6. In a large pan over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Heat until hot and almost smoking.  Add 10 to 12 wontons and cook until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of water or chicken stock to the pan and cover. Cook for an additional 5 to 6 minutes, until all the liquid is evaporated. Continue this process until all wontons are cooked.
    7. Dipping Sauce: In a ramekin, combine the soy sauce, hoisin, chili garlic paste, and rice vinegar. Stir until combined.

    Monday, November 12, 2012

    Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

    I think Brussels sprouts get a bad rap, but I absolutely love these baby cabbages.  In fact, my entire family loves them, even my extremely picky little sister.  This makes adding them to any menu pretty easy, but results in my family fighting over the last ones that happen to be left in the pan.  It wasn't until this year did I even like them (I didn't like them because I hadn't tried them).  Big thanks to my uncle for showing me how to prepare them!  


    The flavor of Brussels sprouts tend to vary based on season and size.  Brussels sprouts are best during the fall and winter months, but they are available year round.  When selecting sprouts, choose ones with a diameter of 1 to 2 inches and with leaves that are tightly compacted.  Even though Brussels sprouts are bitter by nature, the smaller ones are more tender and the bitterness is less overwhelming.

    Parmesan Brussels Sprouts
    Makes 4-6 servings

    1 1/2 pounds small Brussels Sprouts
    5-6 Garlic Cloves, smashed
    1/8 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    1/8 cup Chicken or Vegetable Broth
    1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
    Pepper, to taste
    Salt, to taste
    1. Thoroughly wash the Brussels sprouts in cool running water.  Remove dark outer leaves so that the lighter green leaves are revealed.  Slice off the brown portion of the stem.  Leave part of the stem intact so that the leaves do not fall apart.  Halve the sprouts lengthwise.
    2. In a large saucepan over medium low heat, add olive oil and smashed garlic cloves.  Allow the oil to come to temperature while the garlic flavor is infused.  Once the garlic starts to slightly turn brown, remove using a slotted spoon.
    3. Add the sprouts to the pan with the cut side down.  Raise the temperature to medium.  Cook until the sprouts are browned on the cut side.  The sprouts may not be completely cooked through, that’s okay.
    4. Slightly sauté the sprouts so that they are coated in the remaining oil.
    5. Add the broth.  Stir until the all of the broth has evaporated and the sprouts are tender.
    6. Transfer to serving dish.  Top with Parmesan cheese and pepper.  Salt may need added after tasting.
    Nutrition Content
    Calories: 154 Total Fat: 8.6 g Sodium: 228 mg Total Carb: 13.7 g Fiber: 5.2 g Protein: 8.9 g Vitamin C: 195% DV Calcium: 20% DV
    Vitamin A:
    21% DV Iron: 12% DV

    Friday, November 9, 2012


    I love chili!  Especially on days when its cold or rainy or snowy.  It is my go to comfort food.  Even in the summer when I'm feeling down, I want chili.  I don't make it though because of the hot, humid days.  But when the first cool day hits, usually sometime in early October, I whip up a batch.

    I love this recipe.  It's extremely easy to make, and I usually have all the ingredients on hand.  When it's cold, I always keep them in the pantry.  And the fact that it uses ground turkey instead of ground beef, is amazing.  I don't even miss it.  The one thing I hate is that there are too many canned ingredients.  I haven't had the time (or patience) to learn how to reconstitute dried beans.  Once my internship is over, it is my goal to do so.  Then learn how to can them.  Until then, store bought canned beans it is!

    Makes 6-8 servings

    1 medium Onion, chopped
    2-3 Garlic Cloved, finely chopped
    1 lb Lean Ground Turkey
    2 tbsp Tomato Paste
    1 (15 oz) can Reduced Sodium Black Beans
    1 (15 oz) can Bush's Chili Beans (or preferred brand)
    1 (15 oz) can No Salt Added Diced Tomatoes
    1 1/2 cups Beef Broth, plus more as needed
    3 tbsp Chili Powder
    1-2 tsp Paprika

    1. Spray a large pot with cooking spray.  Place over medium high heat.
    2. Add ground turkey.  Cook until mostly brown.  Add salt and pepper to taste and 1 tbsp chili powder.  Stir to combine.
    3. Add onion and garlic.  Cook for 2 minutes.
    4. Stir in tomato paste.  Cook for 2 minutes.
    5. Add all the beans, tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups beef broth, paprika, and remaining chili powder.  Stir to combine.  Reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add more beef broth if the chili becomes too dry for your tastes.
    6. Serve hot.  Top with desired toppings of shredded cheese, sour cream, crackers....
    Nutrition Content
    Calories: 189 Total Fat: 2.2 g Sodium: 1318 mg Total Carb: 22.3 g Fiber: 7.5 g Protein: 20.1 g