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Pumpkin Pie Green Smoothie

Good morning and happy Friday! Just popping in with some quick announcements and a tasty recipe!

First up, I’m excited to share that I’m now seeing clients via Nutrimedy, an online platform that makes it super-easy to connect with a dietitian through video chats, messaging, and meal journal reviews. With 2017 around the corner it’s a great time to think about your health goals for the coming year and plan it out. For New York State residents looking to book an appointment, my Nutrimedy ID is 10064.

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RawSpiceBar Giveaway

Today’s post is sponsored by RawSpiceBar.

Happy Thursday! I hope you enjoyed Tuesday’s gift guide. Today I’ve got an awesome giveaway for you guys that includes one of my favorite featured items from the list!

The folks at RawSpiceBar are hosting a giveaway on my blog. One lucky winner will receive a free 6-month subscription.Every month, you receive a kit of freshly ground high-quality spices along with recipes to use them in. This is a great way to experiment with new flavors and add variety to your meals.  All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me your favorite spices! Winner will be announced next week.
You can also order gift subscriptions for your favorite foodies. Check out the RawSpiceBar:  3, 6, & 12 month spice gift plans for something a little healthier than a Bacon of the Month club.

Want to learn more about must-have spices and their health benefits? Check out my Shape post on 10 healthy spices to stock your kitchen with.

Some other stuff I have to share today:

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What I Ate Wednesday #296: Birthday Eats

It’s been a while since I’ve had my birthday on a Wednesday, so of course, I thought it would be perfect to share my birthday eats for today’s weekly food diary-esque post. In the past, I’d asked for my birthday off from work, but I didn’t feel right about skipping clinic that day, so I made evening plans instead.

Last year, I wound up spending the night of my actual birthday eating leftover cabbage and chicken alone and drinking Beaujolais Nouveau while pretending to be okay with it (“I guess this is 30”) so this year, I was very happy to ring in a new year with a gathering of lady friends. It was so crazy and wonderful to be able to celebrate with people I’d met when we were 5 years old as well as friends I’ve made here in New York. Time is a funny thing.

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So here’s what my birthday looked like this year.

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14 Great Gifts for Cooks

The holiday season is officially here, and chances are you’ve still got a few folks on your gift-giving list. I know I do! I ransacked my own kitchen and asked some of my RD and foodies friends to weigh in on their favorite cooking tools. When it comes to kitchen tools, sometimes those little basics are what really make the experience of cooking pleasurable. Never underestimate the power of a good knife or what perfect whisk. Even just having a set of both dry and wet measuring cups and spoons can make all the difference.

*A Good Knife. Several people said you can’t beat a good knife. Totally agree! One budget-friendly option I love is this ZYLISS Chef Santoku Knife . I actually received one from the company several years ago for review and I still use it almost every day. I’ve since bought several for friends and family members who were moving into new homes and wanted new kitchen stuff. The cheerful color makes me happy too.

I also dig their Paring Knife Set . After buying myself one, I bought several as gifts. Love these. Dietitian Judy Barbe, author of LiveBest, considers a serated paring knife an essential kitchen tool. Great for someone who’s just getting set with the basics!

 

*Kitchen Scissors. Dietitian Katie Ann Heddleston says, “I think everyone should own a pair of good kitchen scissors! It’s a convenience accessory that people underutilize!” These KitchenAid Shears are a great basic to have on hand and even come with a little cover so you don’t have to worry about damage (or getting cut) if they need to be stored in a drawer instead of in one of those nifty knife blocks!

 

*A Microplane. Several people raved about this one. I was given one of these by my mother many years ago and it’s one of my essentials. I’ve had my classic Microplane Zester/Grater for years, and it’s one of those desert-island items. Okay, maybe I’m being slightly hyperbolic—I mean, I don’t know what the heck I could want to grate or zest on a desert island—but it’s one of those “what did I do without this thing” tools. RD Jessica Fishman Levinson of Nutritioulicious raves, “I couldn’t live without my Microplane zester and hand juicer. Fresh citrus zest and juice adds so much flavor without adding sodium, fat, or a lot of calories. I also love grating ginger and garlic on the microplane—adds intense and delicious flavor to dishes!”

 

*Vitamix. Basically the Cadillac of blenders. The Vitamix is not cheap, but worth every penny. I have a hand-me-down that’s good as new and perfect for blended soups, homemade nut butters, and, of course, smoothies. Something else I love about the company is that they offer a 25% discount for customers purchasing it for a medical reason.

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Roasted Garlic Baked Turkey Meatballs

Spaghetti & meatballs was a regular part of the dinnertime rotation for me, growing up. Some of my earliest cooking memories are of helping my mom make her marinara sauce, which is one of my all-time favorite foods. It was also one of the first things I started cooking when I moved into my own apartment and began learning my way around the kitchen.

It took me until I was well into my twenties to start experimenting with my own meatball variations, though. It was my squeamishness about handling raw meat, honestly. Glad I got over that one, though. They’ve since become a favorite. The one I keep coming back to is this easy recipe for baked turkey meatballs.

I hate frying things because I hate dealing with splattering oil and messy clean-up, and this way happens to be healthier to boot. I also swap in rolled oats for breadcrumbs to up the fiber while keeping sodium in check. This particular version feature roasted garlic, but if you don’t have any, feel free to leave it out. I’d recommend grating your cheese fresh to get the richest flavor and keep any cellulose-related anxiety at bay. While it won’t kill you, necessarily, why put wood pulp in your meatballs if you don’t have to?

I love to enjoy these over zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, or salad. I hope you dig them as much as I do!

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5 Ways to Make A Frozen Meal More Satisfying

This post is sponsored by MorningStar Farms.

If you’ve been reading my blog even a little bit, it’s pretty obvious that I like to cook. Sure, getting to eat delicious food is part of it, but even more so, I love the therapeutic aspect of cooking. Working with my hands relaxes me, and having the chance to be creative with various ingredients and cooking methods helps me hit the reset button.

It wasn’t always that way, though. As a college student living on my own for the first time, I had no idea what to do in the kitchen, but I was curious. In my senior year, I had an internship at a publishing house that did cookbooks, and I got sent home with a bunch of different titles. I remember sitting on my floor (I did not have much in the way of furniture) trying to figure out how to recreate what I saw on those pages. Some of my early attempts were hilariously bad, but I was so hungry, I rarely cared. Well, there was that one time I tried to grill romaine leaves on a George Forman grill…Wouldn’t recommend anyone try that.

I also relied a lot on frozen meals. Amy’s bowls—especially the brown rice bowl and pasta shells—stick out in my mind. Now the company makes a ton of varieties I’ve never even heard of that my 20-year-old self would have definitely been into. Of course, this was in my pre-RD days when I never thought about sodium or preservatives or any of that other fun stuff, so I was mostly concerned with cost and taste, but in the grand scheme of things, my health nut Grandma and chemical-conscious mom had at least turned me on to some better alternatives that were available then. A lot more companies have been working on creating healthy, tasty frozen meals in the decade-plus since then, so even though I wouldn’t encourage making frozen meals a mainstay, having a few convenient options in the freezer can help you stick to a healthy eating routine.

Presentation is a whole other matter. You don’t need a degree in food psychology to know that eating soggy stir-fry from a cardboard bowl while standing at the kitchen counter is not going to be very satisfying. Research from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab shows many ways that what we see on the plate influences how much we eat and how fulfilled we feel.

Earlier this fall, I went to an event hosted by MorningStar Farms where we tasted some of their new products and enjoyed a wine pairing with each course.

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Healthy Eating During Hectic Weeks

So, um, wow. Time. Thanksgiving happened, and today it’s December, and January first is going to be here before we know it. A lot of my clients say that the holiday season is one of the toughest times of the year to stick to a healthy routine, mostly because they’re so busy. Recently, I wrote about how to maintain your weight during the holiday season, so today’s post has some more details. Here are some of my go-to tips and tricks for making healthy eating possible, even during hectic weeks when your calendar is laughing at you and your phone keeps lighting up with notifications.

As someone who routinely works 60-hour+ work weeks and tries to find time for friends and family, I know firsthand how challenging it can be to fit in basic human stuff like good food, sleep, and workouts. That self-care is important, though, and can help you feel calmer and more productive. Let’s just not talk about cleaning or laundry right now… The eating part, I can definitely help you out with. Here are some of my favorite tricks to staying sane and eating tasty, healthy things no matter what’s on the schedule.

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What I Ate Wednesday #295: Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

Happy Wednesday! Hope you’re having a good week. Today actually happens to be my birthday. It’s not a “big” birthday or anything, but I’m looking forward to celebrating with a few friends.

Since last week was Thanksgiving, may as well do the obligatory post-holiday food recap thing. I actually really like Thanksgiving–it comes at the beginning of the holiday season, before we’ve had a chance to get burnt out. And by “we” I mean “I.” As with other food holidays, I encourage making time for a workout and breakfast (and maybe even lunch) rather than skipping meals and trying to white-knuckle it to dinner.

This Thanksgiving, I took my own advice by enjoying a little cardio and yoga with my mom and sister and having a savory oatmeal breakfast comprised of random stuff in the fridge that wasn’t needed for dinner (I think there was flax, egg whites, baby spinach, and a bunch of spices in there, plus tahini on top). In between helping with food prep during the day, I had a bowl of plain Greek yogurt with ground flax and blueberries. We were expecting people to start coming over at 3, and by the time I thought to eat something, it felt a bit late for lunch, so this worked perfectly.

For appetizers, we had a big spread of veggies, cheese-and-crackers, antipasto, and some other random stuff. I made a plate of raw and marinated veggies, some cheese, and a piece of this brie-and-apple tart we’d made. Totally failed at a plate picture, though! brie-and-apple-tart

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Plan it Out

When it comes to goal-setting planning makes it happen. I sometimes get anxious about committing goals to paper because I’m terrified of failing, but I’ve found that putting it in writing and making myself a step-by-step plan to break large projects into manageable tasks helps me get where I want to do.

In that spirit, seeing as I have a birthday this week and 2017 around the corner, I took some time the other day to brainstorm my life and work goals for the coming year. I also made a new vision board:

nov-2016-vision-board

Not sure what a vision board is? This post from Career Contessa talks about vision board and vision journaling and how they can be useful tools for personal and professional growth. I’ve been making these since before I knew there was a word for it, and I have to say, the few years where I forgot (here’s looking at you, 2014), I just felt so…unfocused.

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Grilled Black Garlic Miso Pork Tenderloin

For better or worse, I have a savory tooth and not a sweet tooth. When it comes to animal proteins, I generally prefer to stick to wild/organic/cage-free fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, and yogurt whenever possible, but once in a while I get a craving for pork, beef, or lamb that I just can’t get out of my head. Pork is one of my favorite “in moderation” foods. #sorrynotsorry

I recently made this black garlic-kissed pork tenderloin and from the first bite, I knew this was one of those “in the vault” recipes. It’s the perfect blend of savory, sweet, and salty. My curiosity led me to discover that the combination of black garlic and white miso paste in a marinade is just divine. Wondering what the heck black garlic is? I wrote a post for Fitness about it because I think it’s way too delicious to keep to myself.

I enjoyed this recipe with roasted sweet potato and brussels sprouts-a great comfort food dinner on a cold night. It also happens to be delicious with salad, as I found out when I enjoyed the leftovers the next day.Though you can obviously grill this outside, for city-dwellers like me, it’s a cinch to make on a grill pan. I use a  Calphalon Nonstick Grill Pan that I absolutely love. It’s not too heavy and so easy to clean between uses. Definitely a plus when you have limited kitchen space!

I hope you enjoy!

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