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What I Ate Wednesday #286: Basic Fall

Happy What I Ate Wednesday. Hope you’re having a great day. My sister told me about a funny thing she saw on the internet the other day. Something like, “If you look in the mirror and say ‘Pumpkin Spice Latte’ three times, a white girl in yoga pants will appear and tell you all the things she loves about fall.” That gave me a laugh because, well, yeah.

This week’s installment of this blog link-up marks the first of fall 2016, so I’m going to share some snaps from this past weekend, which had all the wonderfully basic hallmarks of fall happiness: apple picking, hot coffee, baking pie, and even some yoga pants, cute dogs, and sushi thrown in for good measure. The only thing missing was a pumpkin spice latte.

Friday night I took a bus out to the burbs and went out for all-you-can-eat sushi with my sister, her boyfriend, and his brother.

sushi x
We brought a bottle of wine with us, which we enjoyed in these…goblets.

wine goblets

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Allergy-Friendly Food

Today I want to talk a little about food allergies. It’s estimated that over 15 million Americans have food allergies. A 2013 CDC study also suggests they’re on the rise. There are lots of factors to take into account there, such as improved awareness and screening as well as things like environmental changes and changes to our agricultural practices that may impact the body and its tolerance to various foods and instances of cross contamination.

I didn’t grow up with any dietary restrictions (I started having issues in my mid-20’s and thought it was all in my head until I went to an allergist), so it’s been quite adjustment, mentally, to feeling comfortable speaking up and reading labels carefully. Then there’s always making sure my purse is big enough to carry an epi pen—no cute little clutches for me. I’m still working on getting over the feeling that someone is going to get mad at me for not being able to eat what everyone else is eating or that people will find it annoying when I ask what the ingredients are in a dish.

Case in point: I had a team meeting at a new job site last week, and they ordered lunch from a nearby restaurant. In the email where the menu to the restaurant was included, we were asked about allergies, and I had a moment of anxiety where I worried it would reflect negatively on me to list mine.  I did appreciate how easy the little red allergy flag made it to tell whose meal was whose, though!

smith seared tuna salad

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Hearty Chickpea and Sausage Soup

I’m one of those people who loves fall. Totally unapologetic about it. Summer is great, but there’s something I just love about the crisp Autumn air and renewed get-to-work energy. I also love foods and flavors associated with fall. Bring on the root veggies. Soup is one of my favorite cool-weather foods, and I have fun coming up with different variations.

Noticing a change in the types of foods we want and feel like we need is totally normal as we cycle through the seasons. When our surroundings change (light, temperature, temperament), it makes sense that, in order to stay in balance, we would need to alter what we’re eating. I find that this time of year, for example, I start to crave meat a little bit more often than I do in the summer. I think it has a bit to do with changes in energy levels, given the decreased daylight. Since I feel like food cravings are the body’s way of telling us what it needs, I find ways to incorporate some but in small quantities in order to avoid overdoing it.

Soup is an awesome way to combine the plant protein found in beans, peas, or lentils with a bit of animal protein for a delicious flavor and satisfying balance of nutrients. A spice that I didn’t really get into until the last couple years is paprika, a bright red powder that’s made from grinding sweet red peppers. In this recipe, I used it with chickpeas, kale, and andouille sausage, which is traditionally made from pork and contains garlic, chili powder, cumin, and (yep) paprika. The end result? A slightly spicy, smoky soup that’s perfect for those first days of fall.

chickpea andouille sausage soup

Chickpea Andouille Sausage Soup Read More »

How to Poach an Egg in the Microwave

September is Better Breakfast Month, and today I’m teaming up with Vital Farms to talk about one of my favorite breakfast foods: eggs!

I didn’t discover how much I loved eggs until I moved into my first apartment in college and had to figure out cooking for myself. I started with a simple fried egg, which I added to noodle soup I doctored up with frozen veggies. Primitive at best, but I was learning.

Then I learned how to make poached eggs in my food science lab my year of nutrition school, and I found my new favorite. I made them the traditional way for a few years, until one cold winter day, right around when I was starting my dietetic internship and insanely busy and exhausted, when I came home and found a note on my door. Due to a gas leak and repair, my building’s tenants would not be able to use our stoves for two weeks. Two weeks!

I immediately started googling kitchen shortcuts to find out just how much I could use my microwave for. No way was I going to blow all my money on takeout.

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Kitchen Staple: Marinara Sauce

Good morning! In lieu of my usual Thursday musings, I wanted to ramble a little about one of my all-time favorite foods—and share the recipe with you guys so you can enjoy it too. This Recipe ReDux post is near and dear to me, since it’s all about one of my favorite comfort foods, and one of the first things I learned to make myself—my mom’s marinara sauce. My mom is an amazing cook and a patient teacher. She is also a wonderful dog-grandma to Eli, who lives with her and my dad full time now.


mom and Eli

Not to get all mushy on your guys, but I feel so lucky (#blessed! even) to have such an awesome mom. She worked full-time out of the house when my sister and I were growing up (haha the electric smell of a well functioning copy machine brings back comforting memories of my childhood), and later went on to get her Masters and started her own business while still working a demanding job. She instilled in us a very strong work ethic and a quiet fearlessness for which I’m so grateful. Even though she was so busy, she made us feel like we mattered and could share things with her. Even as an adult, I talk to my mom almost daily and confide in her about everything from kitchen mishaps to career challenges to broken hearts.  Read More »

What I Ate Wednesday #285: Marathon Monday

Happy What I Ate Wednesday. Hope all is well in your corner of the interweb. As I mentioned last week, I just started a new corporate wellness job, and this past Monday was my first real day seeing clients there. Mondays have become that marathon day where I go from projects in the morning to work to appointments after work, and I’ve officially accepted that wearing a backpack is way more comfortable than lugging multiple bags around town.

So in the spirit of this weekly link-up and look at what a dietian really eats, here’s what I had on Monday. It was a major picture fail of a day, but all the more realistic!

Breakfast: Savory Oats

savory turmeric oats


During the workday:

-A boiled egg between morning clients (not pictured)

-Lunch of salad with chicken, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, peppers, and roasted brussels sprouts with apple cider vinegar; apple dessert,

-Late afternoon snack: 2% Fage with flax

WIAW 285

Dinner: I was so tired when I got home, I just threw together a salad with the remainders of what was in the fridge—essentially the same thing as lunch since that’s what I had.

Bedtime snack: I was still hungry after dinner, so I had some plain Greek yogurt with a tablespoon each of cocoa powder and PB2 mixed in. It was exactly the right mix of stuff to settle my stomach before calling it a night.

I usually try to have more variety over the course of the day, but as you can see, there are just some days that get away from you where convenience matters more!

Do you have a long commute for work? What do you have for dinner when you’re exhausted? 

To see more WIAW, check out founder Jenn’s blog Peas & Crayons or visit hosts Laura and Arman‘s blogs.


Anti-Inflammatory Cauliflower Rice

Let’s talk volumetrics for a second. This style of eating, created by Barbara Rolls, PhD and popularized by plans like Weight Watchers, emphasizes filling up on foods that are low in calories (like non-starchy vegetables, broth, etc) and reasonable amounts of lean proteins and high-fiber legumes and whole grains, which can help you leave a little room for smaller amounts of higher-calorie foods (high-fat meats, sweets, etc). Part of what makes this so successful is that nothing is 100% off-limits, and you can prioritize the foods that matter to you.

I think cauliflower rice is an awesome illustration of volumetrics. A one-cup servings provides 25 calories, whereas a one-cup serving of brown rice will set you back 218. It looks like the same amount on a plate, but if you want to “spend” more calories on what you’re eating with the rice, the cauliflower version would be a great choice.

For example, I love falafel and babaganoush and goat cheese, but I’m indifferent to rice. I want my carb for the meal to be something I care more about, like beans (in the falafel). Still, I appreciate the texture combination. Using greens and cauliflower rice as a vehicle for the other stuff is a great way to enjoy a satisfying, visually appealing meal that’s within a calorie and nutrient range that’s appropriate to meet my needs.

Keeping It Real Food falafel bowl

See? I overthink these things so you don’t have to ; )

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Burger Heaven

Fall might be coming up (next week! ) but you can still enjoy a burger. My latest post for Azumio shares some ideas for healthy options. Enjoy!



What’s your favorite burger?

Pumpkin and Spice and Everything Nice

Happy Thursday! We’ve got a full moon lunar eclipse making things interesting this week. The September full moon has many names, including the Full Corn Moon, the Barley Moon, and the Worm Moon. My personal favorite name for this one, of course, is the Harvest Moon, if only because that’s also the name of one of my favorite songs.

(I might have listened to that on repeat about 8 times while writing this post)

One time a guy I was seeing played and sang this for me in a club he had a residency at, but it was not a great fit for his voice (key still matters even for a talented singer) and anyway, it sounds kind of like a song about breaking up/divorce (?) and it made me want to crawl behind the bar and hide. Still, it was a nice gesture, I guess. It’s just that, well, 2013. It was…a year of good stories. Thank all that is holy that time travel is not a thing.

Wow, not sure how we got on to the planets and dating and music (what else is new), but I suppose it’s fitting for this weekly randomness link party. Read More »

What I Ate Wednesday #284: Family Time

Happy What I Ate Wednesday. Hope you week is off to a great start. For today’s edition of this “what I ate”-style link party, I’m sharing some highlights from Labor Day weekend. I worked at the hospital Friday-Sunday but then had dinner with my parents Sunday night. Afterwards, we drove out to New Jersey, where I enjoyed a relaxing Monday with my family before heading back into the city that night. Even though it was less than 24 hours, I felt like I’d enjoyed a whole weekend off. It was nice to soak up some time with the family and the fur children.

Janie and Jess

Love those dog smiles : ) Read More »

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