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Giveaway: What to Make this Weekend

Friday, wow! That happened fast. Thinking about what you’re going to cook this weekend?

I, for one, am still craving tomato sauce, tomato-based soup, and all things involving sun-dried tomatoes. I really hope this doesn’t mean I have some illness that my body has begun craving lycopene and other antioxidants in tomatoes in order to combat. Maybe I’m just into the color red—who knows? Given then this is the extent of my holiday decorating, it’s probably that I could use a little burst of color:

christmas decoration 2014

Either way, the pasta dish I made other night totally hit the spot. I do not have a picture, but it involved chicken, kabocha, and red kale in a tomato sauce, which was essentially homemade marinara mixed with non-fat ricotta and roasted garlic. I still also have a batch of eggplant lentil soup in the freezer that I can’t stop thinking about. Thank god for canned tomatoes.

tr_logoThe folks at Tuttorusso Tomatoes would like one of you to enjoy some tomatoes too! One lucky reader will receive a kit that contains several varieties of canned tomatoes, plus tomato paste, a wooden spoon, an apron, and recipes.

To enter, just leave a comment below telling me your favorite tomato-based recipe! 

I’ll announce the winner on Monday. Have a great weekend!

If you want to make any non-tomato things this weekend, here are a few things that caught my eye on the inter webs this week:

 

Thinking Out Loud: Dietary Deal-Breakers

Happy Thursday. Welcome to this week’s Running with Spoons Thinking Out Loud link party, where stream-of-consciousness is the name of the game! Thanks to Amanda for hosting! Today we’re going to talk about dating, one of my least favorite topics!

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zombie guy cardWith the end of the year approaching, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on 2014 and thinking about what I’d like to see happen in 2015. Naturally, this has me ruminating over my dating life. Or is “love life” the term? Either way, a lot of that is more appropriate for a blog of a different sort, but there is occasionally some intersection when it comes to talking about food and dating. As time goes on, I learn more about my personal dietary deal-makers and deal-breakers. Here are the big ones:

Must love olive oil. If nothing else, 2014 taught me that this is a major red flag.

No food in bed. Especially not Chicken McNuggets when I’m pretending to be asleep. And no, you cannot wear my bathrobe while you’re at it. Why does there even need to be a rule about this? My life…

Outsource your issues. Just because I am a dietitian does not mean I am your dietitian. And no, I do not accept payment in the form of sexual favors.

Respect my preferences, and I will respect yours. Except the no olive oil thing. There are some things I will just never understand, and that’s okay. What I’m really talking about here is  dietary restrictions. I happen to be an omnivore, but I will never try to “change” someone who follows a vegan/Paleo/no-red-meat diet. I’m adaptable, and I expect you to let me eat my yogurt/lentils/filet mignon without lecturing me. Possible exceptions include raw vegan diets, given the high quantities of nut cheese involved (Epi pens ain’t cheap) and people who don’t like olive oil.

Please don’t touch me while I’m eating. No, seriously—don’t. This is the main reason there was no second date after the Lobster Taco Incident of 2013. Or okay, one of the main reasons.

Don’t order for me unless I tell you to. This statement probably says a lot about certain other, ahem, preferences, but hey—it’s good to let someone know what you want and what you don’t allow.

 What are some of your dietary deal makers/breakers? 

 

What I Ate Wednesday #193

Happy What I Ate Wednesday. How’s your week going? And how is it December f-ing 17th? I have holiday crazy I need to fit in around the usual crazy, so let’s get right into the voyeur-tastic link-party food pics, mmkay?

I’ve got another weekend WIAW for you guys. Saturday was crazy-busy at the hospital, though it didn’t even begin to compare to Sunday, when I was alone and covering the whole house because the RD called in sick. It all worked out okay, though. Of course, I cannot tell the future, so I just thought it was a  busy Saturday.

I’m not totally sure what it was, but when I woke up in the middle of the night Friday, I couldn’t get back to sleep because my mind was racing. So I did what any normal crazy person would do and got out of bed to work on the projects that were nagging at me. I blasted No Doubt’s Return of Saturn in hopes that the time warp might actually give me the energy of a 16-year-old for whome all-nighters are NBD. What the hell ever happened to my stamina?  Four first drafts later, I collapsed into bed for a couple more hours of shut-eye. 4 hours is way better than none.

Anyway, the quick pace of Saturday was actually good because it kept me awake but wore me out enough that I was able to fall asleep easily (and early!) that night. Here’s what I ate to get me through the day:

Breakfast: Zucchini bread oatmeal with peanut butter, coffee.
Lunch: Arugula salad with roasted veggies, tuna, and olives. I had some dry-roasted edamame a few hours later. More coffee.WIAW 193
Snack: A sliced apple and a cup of golden milk. golden milk
Dinner: Steamed kale with roasted Brussels sprouts, a Dr. Praeger’s Sweet potato pancake, and a cranberry & sausage from a farm-to-table company in Ithaca called The Piggery I was introduced to through Farmigo—love their stuff. Piggery Sausage kale bowl
Snack: A sliced banana served with a little dip I made from yogurt and coconut flour + a few chocolate chips. I make weird stuff when I’m exhausted.IMG_8384

To see more WIAW from other bloggers, visit founder Jenn’s blog Peas & Crayons.

What do you do when you can’t sleep? Do you eat weird stuff when you’re tired?  

 

Warm Winter Salads

kale saladI know it’s not technically winter yet, but it sure feels like it outside! As the seasons change, it makes a lot of sense to change up our diets a little to help us adapt to the shifts in light and weather patterns.

One of my favorite stereotypical dietitian/nutritionist habits is my daily salad. It’s not a strict rule, but I do love having a big salad for lunch. It’s filling and delicious and also happens a great way to use up leftovers. The mad scientist side of me enjoys trying new flavor combinations, while my Type A side finds comfort in returning to old favorites. I also enjoy the energy boost I get from the mix of protein and fiber, not to mention all the super-food facets of the various ingredients. The mix of colors is also visually appealing, which I think goes a long way in perking you up in the middle of a hectic day.

During hot weather, a cold, crisp salad is a pretty natural choice. When things cool down, though, most of us find ourselves craving warm foods.  Carb cravings are also common during fall and winter, as our body struggles to regulate our mood and energy levels. Creamy soups and hot sandwiches and pizza start to look a lot more appealing than, say, mesclun greens. This is where warm salads come in. Essentially, it’s a salad that you serve warm. You can toss freshly cooked ingredients in with the raw greens or zap the whole bowl in the microwave if you prefer (confession: that’s what I usually do because I’m lazy/busy). Here are a few tips for creating a nourishing, satisfying wintertime meal.

*Stick to heartier greens. Kale (or baby kale) and arugula are a few of my favorites. Spinach can also work.  Basically, if you would eat it raw or cooked, it will likely translate well. Just steer clear of more delicate greens like mesclun, which are not that enjoyable when wilted.

*Keep it seasonal. In the fall and winter, foods like roasted cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and squash are delicious in salad. Pears and apple are great in sweeter salads. Enjoying produce at its peak will help you get into the spirit of the season and appreciate the present moment, even when you’d rather be frolicking on the beach.

*Pick a protein. Aside from satisfying hunger, the tryptophan in animal sources of protein like meat, fish, and eggs helps keep our mood steady-great for managing workday stress and the winter blues. This may not be everyone’s taste, but I love using chicken sausage for a change of pace sometimes. Vegetarian sources of protein like tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds, lentils, and beans are great on salad. They also provide plenty of fiber plus other important nutrients.

*Dress it up. Though you could do simple oil & vinegar, warm salads are great with a little creamy dressing drizzled on top. Just keep it simple. For example, a simple miso-tahini dressing made of miso paste, tahini, apple cider vinegar, and a little water adds a ton of flavor without being too heavy. Hummus can be another tasty topping.

*Pick one add-on.  Allow yourself one “extra” item that you really enjoy. This will help you feel satisfied without overdoing it. Just remember that a little goes a long way. A few of my favorites are sliced avocado (about 1/4 of a whole) goat cheese, and hemp seeds. 2 tbsp of dried fruit, nuts, or pumpkin seeds can also be nice. Maybe you want to mix in a little brown rice or quinoa? Sometimes I might add 1/4 cup of cooked lentils if I need a little bit of carbs to round out the meal, or a hard-boiled egg if I’m craving more protein. Whatever fills in the blank for you!

 What are some of your favorite cold-weather meals? Any favorite salad toppings? 

A Small Collection of Joyous Things

Hope you’re having a lovely weekend. Can you believe it’s already mid-December? This month is ticking along at quite the clip, huh? I’ve been working at the hospital all weekend, so this week’s little gratitude list is going to be short and sweet.

sliced apple1.) I am loving golden milk lately. It makes a perfect afternoon pick-me-up or a soothing bedtime drink.

2.) I forced myself to get over my shyness and go to the hospital holiday party Friday night, despite the fact that no one else from my department was planning to go. The deal was I only had to stay for one drink, which I did. It was really nice.

3.) I appreciated the much-needed found time on Tuesday. I’m thankful to have almost more work than I know what to do with this month, even if I was up in the wee hours of the morning Friday night/Saturday banging out first drafts to calm my mind enough to let me sleep.

4.) Rise was featured this week as one of the best new apps in the iTunes App Store this week. It’s really exciting to be a part of it, and I’m loving working with my clients.

5.) Lots of recipe-development, testing, and fun photo collaborations lately. More on that later.

6.) I’m still obsessed with apples. That is all.

Have a beautiful day.

What’s brought you joy recently? 

3 Things to Make This Weekend

Happy Friday! What are you up to this weekend? If you’re anywhere in the northeast, you’ve probably been making lots of small talk about the freezing weather, but it’s supposed to “warm up” a bit for a few days—in the 40′s and mostly sunny here in NYC. I’m not planning to do a ton of cooking, as I’ll be working at the hospital through Monday, but here are a few things for you to try.

golden milk 1.) Golden Milk. Bone-chilling days call for warming drinks. And no, for once in my life, I do not mean bourbon. I’ve been using turmeric and ginger potions as a col remedy for years, but I don’t think I’ve ever written about golden milk. Basically, you slowly boil some milk and add turmeric and ginger. Then you grind a little black pepper on top, sweeten with honey to taste.  This post from Fresh Bites Daily gives a pretty good background—and recipe. I like to use organic low-fat milk, but you can definitely use coconut milk or almond milk if preferred.

2.) Have you tried my eggplant lentil soup yet? I’m obsessed with it. Try it with a poached egg and some feta or goat cheese on top. Perfect cold-day comfort food. I like to add a little steamed kale or spinach (aka—greens that have been zapped in the microwave) for a little color, fiber, vitamin boost.

3.) This baby kale breakfast salad from How Sweet it Is. This is what I think of when I think of brunch. And by brunch I mean the kind I will never know because it involves sleeping past, like, ten a.m., but I would totally make this for lunch-called-brunch. Champagne optional. I know I’m a dietitian and all, but there is absolutely room in life for salad with bacon and poached eggs on it. If your arteries clench up just thinking about it, you could always, like, skip the baked-in-butter croutons and use olive oil instead of bacon grease in the dressing. Whatever makes it work for you.

Have a lovely weekend!

What are you planning to make this weekend? What do you think of when you think of brunch? 

 

Thinking Out Loud: Frenzied

Happy Thursday. Welcome to this week’s Running with Spoons Thinking Out Loud link party, where stream-of-consciousness is the name of the game! Thanks to Amanda for hosting!

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rainy day research Even though I haven’t done much in the way of holiday party-ing (yet), I think the frenzy of the season is getting to me. By that, I mean that my brain is a bit overloaded with to-do list-ing. Case in point: I totally showed up for work at the hospital Tuesday morning, only to find that I was not actually on the calendar for that day! After almost a year of working per diem, it finally happened. Hey, at least it was better than if I’d been awoken by a phone call telling me I was supposed to be in rounds instead of in bed.

The silver lining was especially bright, though, as I got to have a cozy, rainy day at home writing and researching for some projects I have due this month. I know that all these end-of-year deadlines will be made, commitments kept, but wow. I’m so glad I got my Christmas shopping done over Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

That said, this year has been way better than last year, when my Facebook feed was peppered with blinged-out ring fingers and couples in ironic ugly sweaters, surrounded by their adorable pets.

Now that I think of it, not much has changed in that respect. Nothing aside from my attitude, I mean. When confronted with things that used to bring me to tears, my response nowadays in more along the lines of, “Well hey, good for them, everyone’s on their own path, blah, blah, blah, remember to look up omega-3 studies on PubMed…”

But wow,we’re heading into mid-December, and 2015 will be here before we know it. Have you started thinking about New Years Resolutions yet?

If you want some stuff to ponder, you can read this 2015 Health and Fitness Trends . I really want to try bone broth. I think I found my new first-date activity. Talk about a litmus test…

I think I want to make all “fun” resolutions this year. For example: I want to try that cricket protein stuff. Maybe one of these bars?

I’m also planning to put yoga on the list again. I actually managed to doit twice a week this year, and I think adding a third yoga session a week will do wonders to help declutter my mind in the coming year. Happy Return of Saturn to me!

Speaking of the mind, I really enjoyed this article, the Road to Mental Health through the Kitchen.

Do you know what your New Years Resolutions will be yet? 

What I Ate Wednesday #192

Happy What I Ate Wednesday. How’s your week going? This week is crazy-busy, but for better or worse, even the work doesn’t feel like work. Good thing, since I’ve got a lot of it on my plate right now…Luckily, I was not working at the hospital this past weekend, so I had a chance to catch up on both work and life. I also celebrated my birthday again. I’m a lucky gal. Here’s what Saturday looked like.

Breakfast was an egg white scramble with lots of veggies. IMG_8305

A few hours later I had an apple before running out to meet a friend for yoga. sliced apple

After yoga, we ate lunch in the cafe at the studio. I ordered the “yogi’s choice” and selected steamed kale, grilled portobellos, and spicy tempeh. I opted for the turmeric tahini dressing, which was lovely.Jivamutkea tempeh and mushrooms

I spent the afternoon in the writing cave but took a break partway through for a snack of Greek yogurt with some cereal. IMG_8315

Then I met up with friends for what I think is official the last birthday dinner for me this year. We went to Gallo Nero in Hells Kitchen, and I ordered the salmon, which came with sautéed spinach and cabbage in a balsamic reduction. I also drank a glass-and-a-half of red wine. I’m all about primitivo lately. Gallo Nero salmon

Unfortunately, my alcohol tolerance is not what I wish it was, and I felt a little buzzy before bed. I drank a glass of water and ate a sliced banana with a tiny bit of peanut butter. This is basically my “hope I don’t wake up with a wine-headache” snack. It’s also a good snack when I haven’t more wine than my body needs, but I tell myself the potassium, B-vitamins, and tryptophan help with the whole headache/weird sleep/hangover thing. Mixed success. I woke up feeling pretty good, but a bit earlier than I’d have liked the next morning.

So it goes. All it all, it was a lovely day spent with people I wish I saw more of.

What do you eat when you’re accidentally half-drunk? 

To see more WIAW from other bloggers, visit founder Jenn’s blog Peas & Crayons.

 

Eggplant Lentil Soup

When the temperatures drop, I crave tomato-based soups and sauces like crazy. Perhaps it’s some misplaced longing for summer? I refuse to buy fresh tomatoes once they’re out of season because it’s kind of like dating a blander version of that ex you’re not over: Just not the same, no matter how much wine you drink.

tr_logoCanned tomatoes are the perfect solution, and I always stock up once I’ve adequately mourned the end of the summer season. When the folks at Tuttorosso tomatoes sent me a bunch, it was the perfect excuse to make an updated version of an old idea. This Eggplant Lentil soup will keep you warm on many a lonely winter night, especially since it makes, like, a billion servings. Or ten.

eggplant lentil soupEggplant Lentil Soup

Serves 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into half-moons
  • 1 eggplant, cubed
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 28-oz cans crushed, peeled, or diced tomatoes
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried basil
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine lentils and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until lentils are tender, about 2o minutes. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot. Add onion, garlic, carrot, and celery. Cook until vegetables are soft and onion is translucent.
  3. Add spices, zucchini, pepper, and mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms begin to soften and then add wine. Raise heat and bring to a boil for one minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. Add lentils and cook on low another 15 minutes.

What foods do you refuse to buy out of season? Any favorite soup recipes? 

A Small Collection of Joyous Things

Happy Sunday. How’s your weekend been? Mine’s been a mix of productive and relaxing. If you’ve watched or read the the news at all recently (or signed on to any social media platform for that matter), it would be hard to not to see there’s a lot of unrest, upset, and all-around bad stuff going on around the world and at home. Though I have my own thoughts and feelings about current events, I usually prefer to keep that stuff off of the blog.

That said, I think those are the times when we especially need to remember to take a second to appreciate the positive things to help bring our focus into balance. Here’s a little list of things that have made me happy this week:

1.) I enjoyed a few more birthday dinners: Pho Grand on Tuesday and Gallo Nero last night. I’m a lucky gal.

2.) What would my life be this time of year without soup? I’ve got a new recipe coming tomorrow. eggplant lentil soup

3.) I finally got a TV. With the exception of a few months in 2012 where I had a set,this is the first time in almost 10 years. It’s not like I had anything against TV, it just wasn’t something I had. This past summer, though, I admitted to myself that I really missed being able to, like, invite someone over to watch something. I finally realized I’d been buying in to some stupid starving-artist complex about how TV was one of those things only people with normal, stable lives had and that I wasn’t entitled to one. Turned out, this weird little voice was actually just trying to keep me down to make it feel better about itself.  I can’t believe I spent so long feeling ashamed of being able to afford a monthly cable bill.

So yeah, yesterday morning, I had Open House on while I folded laundry (new guilty pleasure?). I felt like a grown-ass adult and totally liked it.

4.) Eli continues to thrive with my family and their dogs. Little dude is climbing up on chairs and things now. My dad sent me this picture of him after his latest haircut the other day. Eli Haircut Dec 2014

5.) Yesterday, I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen since the freaking summertime for some yoga and vegan eats at Jivamukti. Anytime I get to catch up on girl-talk while simultaneously feeding the mushroom tooth is a win. These grilled portobellos and spicy tempeh were fantastic, especially with the turmeric tahini dressing. Jivamutkea tempeh and mushrooms

What’s brought you joy recently? 

 

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