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What to put on your oatmeal

apple oats with fig Keeping It Real FoodOatmeal is a popular breakfast food. You might even say it’s cliched in some circles—food bloggers, dietitians, for example. Will we ever shut up about our damn oatmeal? Highly unlikely.

One of the most common ways you see oatmeal served is with brown sugar and dried fruit. As a dietitian, I can’t help but look at that and be, like, “Carbs on carbs on carbs.” Aka, “Sugar crash in an hour.” It makes me happy to see more restaurants and food companies starting to offer savory versions and higher-protein options that will actually keep people fueled through their morning.

I’m a big fan of making oatmeal in big batches ahead of time and dividing into single-serving containers so you can grab and go or heat and eat if your morning is rushed. Here are a few of my go-to recipes:

You can also take a plain bowl of oats and add whatever toppings will make it worth your while.  Here’s a post I wrote for General Mills a few months back on ways to add some sweetness to your bowl without extra sugar. A few of my favorite add-ons:

  • Peanut butter (or whatever nut/seed butter you like)
  • Tahini
  • Cinnamon
  • Ground flax
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Fresh or frozen berries
  • Caramelized fruit
  • Dried or roasted figs (a little goes a long way)
  • Jam or fruit preserves
  • A drizzle of maple syrup or honey
  • A poached egg and roasted veggies
  • Goat cheese
  • Avocado

How do you like your oatmeal? 

What to make this weekend

Happy Friday! Oh, and happy beginning of Spring this weekend. Please ignore the snow forecasted here in the northeast…

conference snack bag Keeping It Real FoodIs it just me or did this week fly? It could also be that I’ve been squeezing into 3 days what I normally have 7 to do. I’m heading to a conference this morning. Definitely not planning on spending much time in the kitchen, but I have some snacks packed to get me through the next few days:

  • Overnight oats packed for breakfast to eat on the trip this morning
  • Sliced green bell pepper
  • Fruit (apples, clementine, banana)
  • Dry-roasted edamame
  • Fiberlove bars
  • Single-serve packets of peanut butter

A client recently asked me for some tasty, weight-loss friendly recipes, so I thought I’d share a few ideas if you’re looking to try any new lightened-up dishes for the new season, here are a few suggestions:

This spiraled zucchini with grape tomatoes from Skinnytaste — so pretty! Just add some protein for more staying power. I think chicken sausage or grilled chicken or shrimp would taste great in this.

These tomato-braised lentils from the Kitchn would make a great vegetarian dish, but you could also top with an egg and a sprinkle of your favorite cheese (I recommend 1 tbsp goat or feta) to take it up a notch without breaking the calorie bank.

Breakfast for dinner. It doesn’t get much easier than an omelet with lots of veggies. Use one whole egg and 2 extra whites. Hopefully your flipping skills are better than mine. Keeping It Real Food omelet fail

You win some, you lose some. Such is life.

What are you up to this weekend? Any healthy recipes on your “must try” list? 


Toasting o’ the Green

avocadoI am so bad at being Irish. I hate beer, don’t give a rat’s a** about soccer football, and…someone fill in another Irish stereotype here to help me out. Funny story, actually—we thought a particular side of the family was Scottish, but it came out a few years ago that one child had a different father than all the rest so—surprise! We’re a tiny bit Irish and not Scottish after all. Geneology is a funny thing, no?

Instead of pretty green cupcakes or shamrock smoothies today (though you can totally make my favorite green smoothie to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow), I thought I’d share my favorite avocado toast instead. Simple, delicious—easy peasy, as they say. If you don’t do toast, avocado is also delicious on a chickpea flour pancake.

Avocado is one of my favorite foods. Aside from being delicious, it’s also a great source of healthy fats that make your hair and skin glow, and it also boasts a good dose of fiber to keep you full, plus bloat-fighting, ache-soothing potassium and magnesium. It’s also full of vitamin B-6, which is great for boosting energy and managing stress.

But first! Here’s a video about the best way to slice an avocado. Apparently I’ve been doing it wrong.

Anyway, this toast business. Here’s the How-To:

Step one: Toast a piece of bread. I like Ezekiel sprouted grain bread for this.

Step two: Slice or smear some ripe avocado, anywhere from 1/4-1/2 of one.

Step three: Garnish with a little lemon juice, some sea salt, and a teaspoon of hemp seeds.

Step four: Devour.

Step five: Live long and prosper.

What are your favorite green foods? 

Tinned Fish, 3 Ways

Mackerel is a great source of Vitamin D

Mackerel is a great source of Vitamin D

Whenever there’s a storm coming or some other food stock-up occasion, I throw a few tins of fish in my grocery basket. They’re a perfect apocalypse food: convenient, nutritious, and versatile. And yet, they often sit there in my cabinet. I thought I’d post a few of my favorite ways to eat tuna, sardines, mackerel, and the like here in hopes of fixing that problem.

Returning from Miami to an empty fridge will probably be the perfect time to go all mad-scientist on my pantry. I use the term “pantry” lightly, of course. Anyone in New York City who can afford a space big enough for a pantry is, well, not me. Not yet, anyway. See how I’m making myself be optimistic there?

Anyway, here are are some things you can do with tinned fish.

On toast, with avocado or roasted garlic. Simply mash up the fish with a little avocado or roasted garlic and evoo. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and spread on your favorite toast.

Over salad. I will totally just toss the unadorned tinned fish into a big ol’ salad with a hard-boiled egg or two and lots of veggies, maybe some olives—a poor gal’s noicoise, of sorts. You could also mix with some Greek yogurt or olive oil and mix-ins of choice (spices, celery, etc) as you’d do with tuna and eat with your favorites.

With lemon, in pasta. You can process with olive oil, lemon, and garlic to make a paste to toss your pasta in or toss the fish in with the just-cooked pasta. Add some cracked red pepper and a side salad, and dinner is served. White wine optional but encouraged.

What foods do you stock up on and then never use? Any suggestions for how to use tinned fish? 


What to make this weekend

Happy Friday! What are you up to this weekend? I’m heading out of town to celebrate a friend’s wedding so currently packing up my suitcase and double-checking I have all the essentials. Before I skip town, though, I have an in-office allergy challenge that involves me steaming a lobster tail this morning and bringing it to my doctor’s appointment. Keep your fingers crossed for me that everything goes well and I can continue to eat all the shellfish I want forever and ever.

fridge cleaning kale saladIt hasn’t really sunk in yet that I’m going on a trip. Hard to say if this will be a whiskey or a champagne wedding for me, but I’m definitely looking forward to tasting some new food while I’m away. Of course, I have some snacks packed.  Cleaning the fridge out before a weekend away is always interesting. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes not. This time around it at least resulted in some tasty kale salads.

If you’ve got any cooking or meal planning on the agenda for this weekend, here are some things that caught my eye.

I loved this post on creating a kitchen budget to get out of debt. Though I’m fortunate enough not to have that particular burden right now, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ways I can save and make more money. Because I am a nerd who keeps Excel sheets of everything IWhat to buy, it helps me see where my money goes and shows me where I can cut back. I noticed recently that food costs have gone up in the past year or two. Though some of this is justifiable, taking into account how much more I work with and write about food, I think I could be a little more on top of sticking to a budget.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s fave lentil salad happens to be totally budget-friendly.

I know that meat-and-potatoes weather is on its way out (finally), but this bolognese with potatoes and kale is so up my alley. I consider this a great example of “when white potatoes are not the enemy.”

What’s on your plate this weekend? 


Easy Miso Salmon

salmon and arugula salad with avocadoSalmon is one of my favorite superfoods because it’s nourishing to the body and brain. The omega-3 fatty acids do all kinds of favors for our heart, our moods, and our skin. The protein in salmon is also important for staying energized and satisfied. I also love that the tryptophan calms and soothes the mind and helps us stay calm in trying, transitional times like late winter. Oh, and it happens to be delicious.

Salmon is a great way to balance out a season filled with heavy comfort foods as we start thinking ahead to lighter meals and longer daylight hours. This miso salmon is one of my go-to recipes. My favorite way to eat this is with a big salad, but it’s also wonderful with roasted veggies and sautéed spinach. Enjoy!

  • 1 tbsp red miso paste
  • 1 tbsp rice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb wild salmon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. To make miso marinade, whisk together miso paste, vinegar, garlic, maple syrup, and 1 tbsp olive oil. Pour over salmon and allow to marinate for at least an hour.
  3. Bake salmon until opaque, about 10-15 minutes. Season with lemon, salt, and pepper to taste.

Serves 4

What’s your favorite fish? 

What to make this weekend

Happy Friday. This week has flown by. I don’t want even to think about the sheer number of words that have come out of my mouth while talking with patients or that I’ve written or typed in the past few days. I’m ready for a little downtime.

red lentil soup with hemp seedsSaturday I’m going to be helping set up for the International Restaurant and Foodservice Show of New York and then indulging in a little karaoke silliness—and hopefully Korean BBQ. Sunday plans include a half-shift at the hospital and hopefully some yoga.  I did a lot of cooking on Thursday so won’t be doing much food prep or recipe-testing over the weekend. I plan to enjoy a lot of soup and toast. Fancy, I know.

For those of you who plan to spend some time in the kitchen, what’s on the agenda? Any fun experiments you’d been meaning to try? Here are a few things that caught my eye this week:

I love the idea of making my own fermented foods at home, but I’m such a scaredy-cat. Some years ago, my then-boyfriend made cashew cheese that spent a week wrapped in a towel in a cabinet, and after I ate some, I laid awake for hours waiting for botulism-related eye twitches to set in. Still, this recipe for homemade sauerkraut (in a mason jar, no less) sounds pretty badass.

A bunch of clicking around led me to this 2010 post for an egg baked into a sweet potato on The Daily Balance. Um, I need this in my life.

Speaking of vegetables, I loved this article on what a serving of vegetables looks like. A good visual makes all the difference.

Maybe it’s my age, but I feel like all of a sudden I know tons of people who are having babies. These lactation cookies from the Fitnessista would be a great gift for a new mom. Since I am a terrible baker, I’ll just keep sending goodies from Mouth or ordering from the registry, but you can try to make them…

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

What I Ate Wednesday #204: Running on empty

Happy What I Ate Wednesday. How’s your week going so far? Anyone else noticing any full-moon madness? This week has been full of all kinds of stuff. I’m just trying to go with the flow while remembering to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Oh, and by the way, today is the last day to enter the RedPack Tomato giveaway. Winning a prize would be a nice treat this week, right?

So, back to our regularly-scheduled WIAW-ness. Saturday at the hospital was more or less routine. Despite operating on 3 hours of sleep, I felt surprisingly okay. I think it was the sunshine and extra-chatty patients. Or it could have been the quart of coffee I had on my way to work…Yeah. Saturday, also known as the day I drank a quart of black coffee on an empty stomach and felt nothing.

Here’s what I ate to get me through my shift:

  • WIAW 204Breakfast: Zucchini bread oatmeal with peanut butter
  • Lunch: A small kale salad with steamed peppers and homemade miso dressing; lentil soup
  • Snacks: A Jarlsberg mini; an apple; (unpictured) plain Greek yogurt with coconut flour cinnamon, and cocoa powder when I got home
  • Dinner: Salmon and veggies that I’d mixed with hummus I’m trying to use up (class); a dark chocolate wedge for dessertsalmon and veg
  • Bedtime Snack: Sliced banana with nonfat ricotta and a drizzle of maple syrup (ugly picture, but there you have it)banana and ricotta

How do you cope with lack of sleep? 

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

Red Lentil Soup.

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Anyone feeling like they need to get back into the nutritional swing of things this week? Oh, and it’s a new month in which we welcome Daylight Savings and a new season, so hey—cheers to new beginnings.

red lentil soup with hemp seedsHere’s another recipe featuring Redpack tomatoes. There’s still time to enter the giveaway. I’ll announce the winter on Thursday.

As I mentioned the other day, I’m obsessed with red lentils lately, and this soup had to happen. My favorite way to eat it right now is over steamed kale with hemp seeds sprinkled on top, but you can totally go the traditional route and just, well, eat it as is. Have a salad on the side to get in some greens, whatever. You could also try it with a poached egg on top like I did for breakfast the other day. Weird but good.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups water (maybe more)
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot, sauté garlic, onion, and carrot.
  2. Add lentils and water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer on low until lentils are tender (about 15-20 monites), stirring occasionally. Add more water if needed.
  3. Add tomatoes. Bring to a boil again and then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Do you like red lentils? What food(s) are you obsessed with lately? 

Pan-Seared Scallops

Happy Saturday. How’s your weekend going? Remember last week when I said I was doing the fish-on-Fridays thing? Today I thought I’d take a second to share one of my go-to recipes.

Scallops are one of my favorite types of seafood ever. I think they’re tied with salmon for top honors. They also happen to be high in protein, low in fat, and will set you back about 100 calories per serving. They’re also a great source of vitamin B12, iron, and zinc. Scallops are what I make when it seems the world is going wrong and I need a little reminder that I’m not completely powerless. In the face of sweeping change, I can still get a nice sear on some goddamn scallops. Seriously, though—these look all fancy but are so easy I’m a little embarrassed to call this a “recipe.”

farmigo scallops and arugulaThat said, here’s how I make pan-seared scallops…


  • 1/4 lb sea scallops per person
  • Butter or olive oil for pan (I like to put olive oil in a spray bottle)


  1. Heat oil/butter in a skillet or sauté pan over medium heat.
  2. Add scallops. Cook until beginning to brown (usually ~2-3 minutes).
  3. Turn over and cook until browned on the other side (another 2-3 minutes) and scallops are just barely opaque in the center.
  4. Serve immediately.

Lately, my favorite way to enjoy scallops is over a light arugula salad. I’ve been getting mine from Satur Farms through Farmigo. This makes a nice lunch when paired with avocado toast. You can also sauté greens and cook up some red lentils like so.

 Do you like fish? What’s your go-to comfort food/recipe? 

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