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Healthy Sandwich Hacks

English Muffin Bfast Sandwich Keeping It Real FoodSandwiches are a super-convenient lunchtime option, but many restaurant and deli versions pack way more calories than most people need in a meal. Packing your own is great, but it’s easy to fall into the tired turkey rut. My recent post over on YouBeauty gives you some ideas for healthy, tasty sandwiches, whether you’re brown-bagging it or ordering out.

What’s your favorite sandwich? 

Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites

Though it may be just a tad bit early to be busting out the pumpkin spice recipes, I just can’t help it. I’m all over it. I dig summer, but as someone who loves boots and sweaters and wearing pants, I am so ready for fall and all the flavors it comes with.

These little bites are super-easy to whip up and make a great pre- or post-workout snack. They also make a great desk-lunch dessert when you need just a little something to complete your meal. You can eat them on their own or crumble into your favorite yogurt. This recipe makes 10 little guys, but feel free to form into whatever size you prefer. You can also multiply this recipe easily if prepping snacks for a crowd.pumpkin spice energy bites keeping it real food

Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites


  • ½ cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 5-6 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tablespoon dried coconut flakes (optional)


  1. Pulse pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pie spice, and dates in a food processor until dough forms. Take breaks every few pulses to prevent overheating.
  2. Form into balls/bites. Roll in coconut flakes, if desired.
  3. Store in the fridge for up to a week.

What are your favorite snacks? 

A Small Collection of Joyous Things

Sunday again. It’s dreary here in New York with a little high-anxiety energy thrown in around the weather, so all the more reason for my weekly gratitude-list post.

*First off: I want to take a second to wish a Happy Birthday weekend to my sister—yesterday was the big day. I was lucky enough to get to see her and the rest of the fam (fur children included) twice over the past week. I was out there again Thursday, and enjoyed a lovely late breakfast with the birthday girl on Friday morning at an adorable local cafe. It was so nice to start the day with girl talk and a non-desk breakfast for a change! empty omelet plate

(clearly, I hated my florentine omelet)

*Part of the reason for my second trip: I had to go to my eye doctor—I’m in the process of transitioning to a new contact lens brand and Rx, and it’s been a bit of a process. Accepting that my eyes have gotten worse this year after a long time of no changes was tough, but I got new lenses, and I can read signs again! I had no idea how much signage I’d been missing out on.

*Disney Princesses Reimagined as Hot Dogs. Yes, this is a thing, and it is wonderful.

(Lucky Peach)

Which Disney Princess did you identify with, growing up? I think Ariel from the Little Mermaid would have to be my vote—always going off exploring, longing to be part of the big world…collecting random objects was totally something I did when I was little too.

*This post from the Kitchn on their instant oatmeal taste test was awesome. As the weather cools down, I’ve been craving hearty grain-based breakfasts, and I could stand to try some new-to-me brands.

*I know it’s barely October, but I couldn’t resist using a discount code to buy some super-cute wintery leggings from White Plum. I got these.

White Plum

*On my work-from-home days (and nights) I’ve been binge-watching 30 Rock, since I never saw the beginning of the series. By binge “watch” I basically mean having it on in the background. That’s about as close as I’ll probably ever get to being able to watch TV. Still. It’s so good! Not-so-guilty pleasure. Tina Fey is my hero. And Liz Lemon might be my spirit animal?

*It probably says something about me that I routinely burn my mouth on coffee and hot soup, but hey. Pros and cons of being a fire sign. Sagittarius with Sagittarius rising = basically f***ed in the patience/heat-sensitivity department.

*Speaking of soup, I’m looking forward to making some soon. I’m thinking red lentil & apple with caramelized onion and kabocha squash, since I still have a gazillion apples to use up…

Have a great Sunday!

What’s on your list of small, good things this week? 


What to Make this Weekend: Apple Everything

Happy Friday! Hope you’re looking forward to a nice weekend. I’m working a bit at the hospital, but I have plans to make some tasty things with some of my haul from last weekend’s apple-picking trip.

Sunday, I went with my sister, her boyfriend, and some friends to Pennings Farm in Warwick, NY. We had a great time filling our bags with tons of different types of apples. Jess apple picking

So now the question is: What the heck to do with so many apples?

Obviously, they’re great for snacking on as is. But then what?

I love to make this short-cut apple pie filling (in the microwave) and enjoy it over plain Greek yogurt (awesome with coconut flour, flax, and cinnamon mixed in). I’ve been enjoying it for breakfast and snacks this week:

yogurt with apple

I also made some spiced apples in the slow cooker the other day with some red wine I was trying to use up. apples in slow cooker


  • 5-6 baking apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 1 teaspoon each Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup red wine


  1. Whisk spices, honey, and wine together and pour into slow cooker.
  2. Add apples and toss well to coat.
  3. Cook on high for 2-3 hours.

apple red wine sauceIt looks a bit like brains, I know, but it tastes like vaguely boozy, delicious apple sauce—mulled wine meets apple pie. I enjoyed this with braised red cabbage and pork, and it was also delicious on top of (yep) Greek yogurt.

I still have a ton of apples left, so I plan to spend some time scoping out these ideas from The Food Network. Maybe I could make my own applesauce and then make these with it? Pie is always an option as well. My mom’s recipe is a family classic.

Any apple recipes your’e loving this fall?  


Thinking Out Loud: Life on Mars?

Good morning and Happy Thursday. Today’s the day where we do the randomness thing, so let’s get to it.


*All the talk about water on Mars has this song stuck in my head. Could be worse.

*I love that my autocorrect is totally cool with “tahini,” but has no idea what to do with “capers.” Or “McNuggets.” Read More »

What I Ate Wednesday #234: An actual Wednesday

Good morning. How’s your week going? But first, I want to wish a very happy birthday to my dad, who’s celebrating a big one today. Nothing says, “You’re old but young at heart” like a Fudgie the Whale cakeFudgie the Whale

It’s kind of weird for me that in two months, I’ll be the age my dad was when I was born—makes me look back at being a kid and thinking adults knew what they were doing all the time and weren’t scared of anything. I also believed in the Tooth Fairy so, you know…

Today being Wednesday, It’s time for another What I Ate Wednesday post, where I share a look at what a dietitian really eats. This is the first WIAW post in a while that happens to be of an actual Wednesday. What a concept,  I know.

Wednesday afternoons, I work in an outpatient clinic that’s part of the hospital where I’m a per diem nutritionist. Once in a while, I’ll work the morning on the inpatient side before clinic. This was the case last week, so I made sure to pack myself a nutritious breakfast and lunch to keep me going.

Desk Breakfast: Zucchini bread oats (with egg white cooked in) and peanut butter. zucchini oats desk breakfast

Lunch: A kale salad with roasted beets & zucchini, avocado, and smoked salmon. This held me over most of clinic, though few hours later, I did need to reach for the Fiber d’Lish bar I’d brought to get me over the hump while writing my notes. I’m not a big “bar” person, but I do enjoy these once in a while—they’re not horrendously high in sugar, and the high fiber content helps me stay full for a long time. smoked salmon salad

Snack: When I eventually got home, I was really hungry, so had some plain Greek yogurt with cinnamon and flax before doing some chores. Exciting stuff. I forgot to take a picture, but it basically looked like this but without anything pretty on top: yogurt with maple

Dinner: I made pumpkin ravioli (same type as in this soup) with shredded brussels sprouts and garlic chicken sausage. I could probably keep Trader Joe’s in business all by myself. Not that they need any help of course. And sorry—this is like the most ugly picture ever. Except for my other ugly desk dinner pictures.pumpkin ravioli and sausage

And then it was light’s out. Another day, another random assortment of stuff…

What was the best thing you ate last Wednesday?  Or today, so far…
To see more WIAW from other bloggers, check out founder Jenn’s blog Peas & Crayons.


What to Eat After a Workout

Good morning! Hope your week is off to a great start. This week we welcome the season of fall, which can be bothat once awesome and anxiety-provoking, depending on how you feel about this time of year.

mini pumpkinSaying goodbye to summer produce also means saying hello to the abundance of fall fruits and veggies. However, the decrease in sunlight finds many of us grappling with carb cravings—not a great pairing for the desire to hide under the covers instead of lace up our sneakers on cold, dark mornings.

Maintaining some kind of workout routine as we transition into the the colder months can help avoid winter weight-gain, but perhaps more importantly, it can help you feel more emotionally balanced and promote overall health—important stuff when you’re surrounded by sad, sick people.

One of my favorite ways to start the morning is with a workout. It helps me wake up, and the endorphin boost is great for dealing with whatever bulls*** the day may bring. Regardless of what time of day you want to work out, though, it’s important to feed your body what it needs to repair, recover, and build muscle. Earlier this month, I wrote an article for women’s career and lifestyle blog Elana Lyn about what to eat after your workout. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite cold-weather workout? Any favorite post-workout snacks? 

Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter

It was only a matter of time. My poor food processor is probably not loving my homemade nut and seed-butter experiments, but what can you do? My pumpkin obsession seems to be even more ridiculous than usual this year. Looks like I’ve got a season of orange palms in my future. I feel like it’s hip to be over pumpkin at this point, but, well…I have never been hip. In fact, the older I get, the closer I get to basic bitch-dom. Case in point: pumpkin candle

Girly scented candles whenever I want—one of the many perks of spinsterhood.

Pumpkin PB ingredients Keeping It Real FoodWhen I spotted the Peanut Butter & Co Pumpkin Spice flavor on social media, I wanted it like, yesterday. When I went online to order some, though, I read the ingredients and thought, “Gee, maybe I can make my own without sugar and palm oil.”

So I did. This autumnal take on a classic is perfect on toast, in a sandwich, served with crisp apple slices or even on top of hot cereal.

Pumpkin PB

Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter


  • ½ cup peanuts, roasted
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil, melted (or other oil)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or ¼ teaspoon each allspice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt


  1. Pulse ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Go slowly and take breaks to prevent burning out processor.
  2. If needed, add more pumpkin (a teaspoon at a time) to smooth out.

(makes ~ 3/4 cup)

What’s your favorite peanut butter/nut/seed butter flavor? Are you obsessed with pumpkin this year or over it? 

A Small Collection of Joyous Things

Happy Sunday! Once a week, I like to check in and take note of the small, good things in life. We can be so busy, it’s easy to let it slip by. Here are a few things on my list this week.


*First off, I’m so happy to be visiting my family and hanging with the dogs. I miss having Eli around my apartment, but I love how happy he is in the suburbs with my family and their dogs. Every day is the Best Day Ever for Eli. Last night we had a relaxed home-cooked dinner and chilled. Eli and Janey climbed on me, cuddle puddle-style.

Jess and dogs

*The Pope’s speech to Congress the other day really blew me away. Regardless of individual spiritual or political leanings, the message of using energy and resources to work towards healing and repairing—and working harder to get along—is important.

*Yesterday I spent a few hours at the New York Coffee Festival and had a great time speaking with the various exhibitors. Can’t wait to share more!
Read More »

What to Make this Weekend: Your own damn PSL

There I go again, with the autumnal references. But hey, even Google is getting in on it. Did you see the logo with all the different seasonal squash this week? This Food52 post that tries to figure out the types of squash in it is hilarious. I love that it occurred to anyone in the first place. 

Talking about Google makes me think of algorithms, and speaking of algorithms, I’ve been amusing myself dreaming up stuff for fake online dating profiles. For example, the other night, I was giggling over an idea for a description of a stereotypical dietitian’s “ideal date.”

Let’s get one-pump, no-whip PSLs and walk through the park and then stop into a cafe for kale salads! 

Actually, that sounds kind of pleasant. Damnit. Stereotypical for a reason, I guess.

Moving on…let’s just appreciate that we made it to Friday. It’s been one of those weeks over here.

Coffee Love Hate

(Jess is in a relationship with coffee, and it’s complicated)

Speaking of coffee…The New York Coffee Festival is going on this weekend. There are going to be tons of different workshops, tastings, tutorials, and more! You can still get tickets here.

In that same caffeinated vein, have you seen or tried the new Toasted Graham Latte from Starbucks? I love that they’re marketing it as a “less sweet” treat, when a grande still has 40 grams of sugar. Yes, some of that is lactose naturally present in the milk, but come on. I shared a few thoughts on the new drink in this Yahoo Health piece. Compared to the Pumpkin Spice Latte (which has 50, though that’s with whipped cream), I guess it is less sweet, but, well, 40 grams of sugar is 40 grams of sugar.

Since coffee is this week’s incidental theme, I made you a PSL.
Homemade PSL

This can be made with stuff you likely already have at home. The only “fancy” equipment is a little handheld milk frother. I found my $10 battery-operated one a few years ago at Bed Bath & Beyond, and it is wonderful and user-friendly. Here’s an example. When you use it, just make sure the milk is cold rather than heating it before you try to froth it.

You can adjust this recipe to your personal preferences. For example, you can make it more or less sweet, mix up the type of milk you use, or play with the amount of pumpkin. Consider this a jumping-off point. The milk-to-coffee ratio makes my version less of a latte and more along the lines of a macchiato-inspired beverage, but feel free to adjust as desired.

Oh, and if you have an espresso maker—can we be friends?


  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree
  • 1/ 4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon sweetener of choice (stevia, maple syrup, etc)
  • 8 ounces brewed coffee (or a shot of espresso)
  • 2-4 ounces milk of choice (I used organic 1%)


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together pumpkin, vanilla extract, spice, and sweetener. Whisk into coffee.
  2. In a mug, froth the milk until fluffy. Heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds or until warm. Froth will expand.
  3. Pour milk and front on top of coffee mixture. Sprinkle additional pumpkin pie spice on top and enjoy.

What’s your favorite cool-weather coffee drink? 

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