Free songs

What to make this Weekend

Happy Friday! How’s your week been? What are you looking forward to this weekend? I’m working at the hospital, so food-wise, we’re looking at a lot of pre-made oatmeal, salads, and the like. Pros and cons.

For people with normal lives/work schedules, weekends are a great time for food-prep and trying new recipes. I’m always on the lookout for great ideas for myself and my clients and loved this round-up I saw on The Kitchn this week. Amanda Hesser’s “Fancy Refrigerator Salad” over on Food 52 sounds pretty dope too. Apparently I say, “dope,” now. Year of Changes, what did I tell you?

Red lentil soup with egg Lately, I’m obsessed with red lentils. As I mentioned the other day, they’re one of my mainstays. Sunday night, I made pan-seared scallops with spinach & pancetta over red lentils (similar to this business from summer, 2013). Tuesday, I made a giant pot of red lentil soup (recipe coming Monday) that I enjoyed in various forms throughout the week.

I think, by far, the strangest was Thursday’s breakfast, which was enjoyed post-yoyga and errands: ~ 6oz (all that was left) of soup with some roasted cauliflower and eggplant, served over steamed kale and topped with hummus, Trader Joe’s eggplant dip, and a little goat cheese. Oh, and a poached egg because, well, duh. I feel like there needs to be a cookbook called, “Yes, you can put an egg on that.” Or “If you liked it then you should have put an egg on it.” Or “Poached Eggs: A love story.”

While we’re on the subject of morning meals, it never hurts to keep in mind that Protein + Fat + Carbs = Breakfast that actually gets you from Point A to Point B, even if you end up staying in your sweaty gym clothes until, like, 1 pm. Ah, the glamor of working from home…

It’s probably a good thing I will not have much cooking time this coming weekend, as my freezer is once again running out of room. And because I need to stop listening to Andrew Bird’s “Lazy Projector,” which has become my comfort-soup-making song as of late. I’ve got it bad, like, “listen to it on repeat” bad. Sorry, neighbors. And by that, I mean #sorrynotsorry. Le sigh, as the kids say.

What are you up to this weekend? Any cooking projects or food prep on the agenda? What song(s) can you not stop listening to? 


Thinking Out Loud

Happy Thursday. Welcome to another Running with Spoons Thinking Out Loud link party, where stream-of-consciousness is the theme of the day. Thanks to Amanda for hosting.

* You still have a few more days to enter my Redpack giveaway. I’ll announce a winner next Thursday!

*Leave it to Cosmo. But no personality quiz telling me what my whiskey order says about me on a date? how to drink whiskey

(For the record: neat when I’m being myself, rocks if I’m on good behavior in mixed company or it’s hot in the room)

*Every year, the National Eating Disorders Association sponsors a weeklong campaign that works to increase visibility and connect people with resources to address disordered eating and help themselves and their loved ones get the support they need to recover. This year’s campaign runs from February 22-28th. I’ve been blown away by the articulate, moving blog posts and articles I’ve read on the topic this week. I also felt this post does a great job of highlighting the campaign and its importance in increasing awareness of eating disorders and early intervention.

*I’m realizing that the theme of this winter/year for me so far is change. Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…Pros and cons. Happy Return of Saturn to me. As an incurable optimist, for better or worse, I’m operating under the belief that it’s all eventually going to make sense and things will happen the way they’re supposed to happen. Because the way I cope with anything is to work my butt off, I have tons of things going on in my little mad scientist lab.

*Speaking of, lots of editing and behind-the-scenes tech stuff going on this week. Though my default is to freak out over anything with computers, I am practicing patience.  

* Nothing like a good impulse buy. Easy portion control too. I’m such a nerd that I get excited about new things to share with clients. TJs mini chocolate

What’s on your mind this Thursday? 

What I Ate Wednesday #203

And here we are again, What I Ate Wednesday.

Saturday I attended the Integrative Healthcare Symposium here in NYC. I only attended in the morning but got so much out of the sessions I attended. First up was dietitian Ashley Koff’s presentation on ways to help patients manage PMS by focusing on digestive health throughout the month. This was so up my alley! Menstrual issues are a huge part of what I work on with clients in my private practice, and I loved hearing about some others ways to address hormonal shifts that occur throughout the month. I loved that a lot of the same suggestions were applicable to patients going through menopause as well, since that’s something that also comes up.

I also sat in on a talk about fibromyalgia diagnosis, as it’s something I encounter sometimes at the hospital and don’t know nearly enough about. I think my curiosity can be traced back to the summer I was 24 and felt like I was falling apart. My then-boyfriend told me, “You’d better not come home with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia or whatever” when I told him I was going to see a doctor about feeling brittle, run-down and depressed. Turned out I was just deficient in vitamin B-12 because I’d been trying to follow his vegetarian diet, but that is neither here nor there.

The last session I attended Saturday morning was a great panel discussion on digital healthcare and how practitioners can utilize technology to improve the care we give. There was also some talk about issues that have as yet to be worked out, such as privacy related to electronic health records.

As far as food goes (this is What I Ate Wednesday, after all), I did not sleep well the night before and since I was also still getting over my cold, felt really disconnected from my hunger on and off throughout the day.

Breakfast: It was a good thing I’d made these yogurt-based overnight oats the day before, otherwise, I’m not sure breakfast would have happened, especially since it was not even 7 a.m. when I realized I had to eat and get out the door. Fortunately, I made it through the whole morning of lectures. Only two big-ass cups of black coffee were required ; )overnight oats

Lunch: By the time I got home around 1:00, I was finally aware of being hungry—terribly hungry. I threw together a quick salad with leftover roasted veggies and grabbed some red lentil soup from the freezer. 10 minutes later: lunch. A tablespoon of hemp seeds on top of the soup added extra protein. I also had a square of dark chocolate. salad and red lentil soup

Fortunately, my post-lunch nap refreshed me without spacing me out too too much, and I actually crossed some stuff off the old to-do list.

Snack: Even though it was snowing, the only thing that was appealing when I finally realized I was shaky-hungry was a green smoothie. It’s amazing how being sick, tired, and/or stressed messes with your appetite. This hit all the right notes, though. I kept it simple with coconut milk, protein powder, half a frozen banana, kale, cinnamon, and ice. A little garnish of roasted coconut chips made it pretty. green smoothie

Dinner: I kind of laughed at myself as I was throwing dinner together because it’s exactly the kind of thing I’m always telling clients to do with leftovers. This was leftover pulled pork from a local BBQ place. I doctored it up with steamed kale and a sweet potato. There was, like, a teaspoon left of the BBQ sauce (heavy on the vinegar I think—it was awesome), and you better believe I enjoyed every little drop. BBQ and kale


Snack: I was still a little hungry before bed, so I had a sliced banana with some peanut butter and a few chocolate chips (~1 tsp). Perfection. Banana with PB & chocolate

I like to think the mix of potassium, magnesium, and tryptophan in there helped me sleep. It might have also been the NyQuil…I do love some aspects of Western medicine.

Do you doctor up leftovers? 

Today’s WIAW is being hosted by Goldilocks Fit. Hop on over to see more from other bloggers.

My Must-Have Kitchen Staples

A peek in my fridge

A peek in my fridge

Hey guys, hope you liked yesterday’s recipe post. You still have a few days to enter the Redpack giveaway!

The other night as I was going down the list of potential dinner options based on the ingredients I had on hand, it really showed me a lot about my style of cooking. When it comes to food, for a lot of us, there are the things we like and the things that we would feel seriously disoriented without. I love how individual it is, too—it’s like the culinary version of a desert island playlist.

When I was first learning to cook for myself as an undergrad, I had very few basics in my kitchen, relying heavily on instant oatmeal, canned soup, and popcorn. A real turning point for me, though, came in grad school, when I first read Mark Bittman’s Food Matters.

I had always suspected that healthy food could be tasty and uncomplicated, and here was a guy with the experience and vocabulary to prove it. I especially loved the chapter on how to build a well-stocked pantry to make everyday meal prep easy. Most of it even fit into my student budget. It was the beginning of a beautiful habit.

Though I go through phases, here are the five basics I always seem to rely on:

  • Olive Oil
  • Lemons
  • Oats
  • Red Lentils
  • Cinnamon

Honorable Mentions:

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Cocoa powder
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Peanut butter

If perishables were included in the lineup, I’d add Greek yogurt, eggs, ground flax, and kale. Oh, and white miso. And tahini. And Grade B maple syrup. And…

What are your kitchen staples? 

Turkey Meatball Recipe (and a Giveaway)

turkey meatballs cookingHappy Monday! Today I’ve got two things to share with you: A recipe and a giveaway–details at the end of this post!

Over the past few years, I’ve been challenging myself in the kitchen to make foods that used to intimidate me. Basically, this means meat, since I spent so many years only eating it in restaurants, so that explains why you’ve seen more of it on this blog in the past year or so. That night I had to give myself a pep talk to shell a lobster tail did not make it onto these virtual pages, mostly because the results were hardly photogenic, though delicious.

Well, it dawned on me recently that at almost 30 years old, I had never even attempted to make meatballs from scratch. As a woman of Italian descent, this is pretty much the most disgraceful thing ever. So, when the folks at Redpack offered to send me some of their canned tomatoes to play with, I decided to take it as a sign to get over my meatball fear.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small onion, divided
  • 1 cup parsley
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • ¼ c breadcrumbs or 1 slice whole wheat bread, toast and crumbled
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg


  1. Dice half of the onion and mince 1 cloves garlic. Set aside.
  2. In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and add the diced onion and minced garlic Cook until soft.
  3. Add tomatoes and oregano and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low.
  4. Meanwhile, in a food processor, process the other onion half, 2 cloves garlic, and parsley.
  5. Combine parsley mixture with breadcrumbs, cheese, turkey meat, and egg. Mix well with hands and form into meatballs and place on a large plate or cookie sheet. You should end up with 24-28 balls.
  6. Heat the other tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Cook meatballs 4-5 minutes on each side.
  7. Add meatballs to sauce and simmer another 20 minutes
  8. Serve hot over pasta or steamed greens. Top with more cheese if desired.

Redpack wants you to win some tomatoes! One lucky winner will receive a kit containing 1 28-oz can of Redpack crushed tomatoes, 1 28-oz can of whole peeled tomatoes, 1 28-oz can of diced, 1 6-oz can of tomato paste, plus recipes.

To enter, just leave a comment below telling me your favorite thing to make with canned tomatoes. There are also more giveaways going on at the Redpack Facebook page.

A Small Collection of Joyous Things

Happy Sunday! How’s your weekend going? Mine’s been packed to the brim with all kinds of stuff—a trip to NJ Friday, the Integrative Healthcare Symposium in NYC yesterday, and an event today where I’m going to be giving a talk about nutritional considerations for mental health.

In the spirit of this weekly gratitude list, here are a few things that brought me joy this week:

* The other day, a friend shared this list of full moon names with me. Love it!

* Apparently this exists too, and it is wonderful. 

*This is even better. 

NPR Tiny Desk Concert series. I have so many favorites, but I especially love this one with The National.

* I finally got around to doing my nails the other day.  IMG_9152

Now if only Instagram had a filter to pretty up my old-lady hands…

*Savory oats are back. Love it. This had truffled goat cheese. Similar prep to this recipesavory oats with truffled goat cheese

One of my lady-friends sent me this adorable video of a 3-year-old white belt reciting the student creed at, like, 7:45 Friday morning, and it put me in a good mood for hours. Gah—my ovaries! Somewhere, there is a VHS tape of 4-year-old me singing and dancing and then imitating my dance teacher’s spiel about being quiet backstage. Kids…

What’s brought you joy this week? 

Something Fishy

oystersSo, I totally forgot Lent started this week and neglected to come up with something to “give up “for the next 40 days. Remember last year when I gave up online shopping? Yeah, that backfired, big time. Rather than scramble to come up with something to forgo and write cheeky first-world martyrdom posts and status updates about, I think I’m going to spend the stretch of time from now until Easter Sunday practicing patience. By this I mean patience with others, patience with myself—focusing on bringing positive energy to my surroundings and maintaining a sense of calm through challenging moments.

One thing I also would like to try this year, which is new for me, is to eat fish every Friday this Lent. No one really needs to know this is more a reflection of my curiosity about new recipes than my pious Catholic ways or whatever, but hey. Who’s ready for oyster happy hour?

To get myself brainstorming, I started a new Pinterest board. Feel free to follow or offer suggestions!

Do you observe Lent? What’s your plan this year? 

What to Make this Weekend

Happy Friday! What are you up to this weekend? Any cooking in your near future? Here are a few ideas for things to make over the next few days:

IMG_9134* I made this slow cooker black garlic pork tenderloin the other day and am so glad I did. It’s a recipe from last year I keep going back to—so nice for cold days when you want some umami in your life.

*For whatever reason, I’ve found myself talking a lot about granola lately with Rise clients. While searching for recipes to pass on, I came across this great post from Gimme Some Oven with 15 Granola Recipes. I have a recipe for a chocolate coconut version you can try too.

Side note: I’ve also been on the lookout for helpful portion-control guides, and really liked this one.

Ways to use leftover sweet potatoes from Food 52. Somehow sweet potatoes fell off my radar there for a bit, but they’re finally back. Just the other night, I had some with veggies, sausage, and an egg. Perfect weeknight dinner.

*It’s cold. Soup needs to happen.

What are you up to this weekend? Any recipes you’re looking to try? 

Thinking Out Loud: Music Things

Happy Thursday. Welcome to another Running with Spoons Thinking Out Loud link party, where randomness is the order of the day. Thanks to Amanda for hosting.

Do any of you guys read the New York Times Cooking newsletter? I love it and get so many great ideas. I also love when Sam Sifton talks about music and music to listen to while cooking. Last week he linked to a video of Elvis Costello’s “I Want You” (not sure that’s the exact video but closest I could find) in the context of Valentine’s Day meals and music, and I was just, like, “Thank you!” A few weeks ago, he posted a link to a Conor Oberst song, and it totally made my day.

At the Newport Folk Festival

At the Newport Folk Festival

I think some of favorite cooking music is bluesy, rock stuff like early Rolling Stones. It doesn’t get much better than Let It Bleed. That’s one of my desert-island albums right there. It pairs surprisingly well with almost any kind of food or alcohol. I also like putting on something like the Avett Brothers or Spirit Family Reunion for something a little lighter or more…up to date?

This past weekend, I was having a conversation with someone about how I almost always have a song stuck in my head. Then a few days after that, I was introduced to a Spotify Elvis Costello playlist that was like time travel. There were songs on there I’d totally forgotten about that used to be in my head (or headphones, back when I wore them in public) all the time. So it got me thinking of some of the music I’ve been obsessed with over the years. Here’s some music-themed Thinking Out Loud/Throwback Thursday rambling for you… Read More »

What I Ate Wednesday #202

Another week, another What I Ate Wednesday. I’ve been spending a lot of time on writing projects and creating materials for upcoming events this week, so I’ve been working at my desk at home a lot. After working Friday through Sunday at the hospital, I was more than ready for a slower-paced work-from-home Monday. Waking up with a head cold Sunday morning kind of forced me to bring things down a notch. My body was basically like, “Jess, seriously, this is bullish!t,” so I cleared a few things from my calendar and stuck close to the writing cave home for most of Monday. Here’s what I ate in between blowing my nose and typing:

Breakfast was very similar to the one I posted last Wednesday, minus the figs. My bowl had oats, ground flax, half a mutsu apple, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract, and 1/3 cup egg whites. I added some peanut butter on top right before eating. mutsu oats with fig

Lunch was also similar to the one in my last WIAW post in that it also involved salmon. I swear I eat things besides salmon. This was leftover from a filet I’d made the night before, and I enjoyed it with arugula salad that also had roasted veggies (zucchini, cauliflower, eggplant, and pepper), avocado, and balsamic. For dessert, I had the other half of the apple from breakfast. salmon and arugula salad with avocado

I am on a roll with forgetting to take pictures of snacks, but conveniently, I once again had Greek yogurt with coconut flour, cocoa powder, and blackberries. cocoa greek yogurt and black berries

Dinner was kind of a “what’s in the fridge that needs to get used up” meal. I steamed a sweet potato in the microwave and added some kale, roasted brussels & beets, and then topped it with a maple sausage from the farmers market and a fried egg. Oh—and a little goat cheese, yes. That was a good idea. IMG_9134

Before bed I had a sliced banana, as I often do, though not as much lately. Cheers to getting out of ruts, sort of! banana sliced in mug
What foods do you eat over and over? 

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

Scroll To Top