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What I Ate Wednesday #226

Happy Wednesday! It’s that day of the week where we do a little dietary “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” So let’s get this What I Ate Wednesday link-up party started, shall we?

So I mentioned the other day that through the month of August, I’ll be posting my breakfast on social media. If you want to join in, tag me on your own post!  Part of why I decided to do that was to get a look for myself at how often I eat breakfast while working at my desk. I’m trying to train myself to have a little more of a life or find places in my day to add a little downtime, so I’m curious to see.

I used to eat breakfast at my desk all the time when I was working more at the hospital where I’m a per diem RD. The past year has brought some interesting shifts (and I keep forgetting it’s only August, so I can only imagine what else 2015 will bring), but one of the perks to having a weird schedule has been more time to eat breakfast at home, even on clinical days. It’s a small thing, but I think having that time to myself before dashing out the door in the morning has been key to helping me stay calm even when things are chaotic.

Some days, of course, it just makes more sense to bring your breakfast to-go. This past Saturday, I did just that. I actually kind of like working per diem Saturday shifts now and then, and I also like to bring a nice breakfast and lunch so I have tasty things to keep me going. So the work part of the day looked like this: WIAW 226

Breakfast: Berry Cheesecake Power Bowl (made with 2% plain Fage)–stupidest recipe name ever, and I really want to change it, but I haven’t come up with anything better than “elaborate yogurt mess.”

Lunch: Arugula & red cabbage salad with roused veggies, andouille chicken sausage, and a vinaigrette dressing

Snacks: A Fiber d’Lish bar (I thought they were called Fiberlove bars—looks like someone’s been busy rebranding); a quick kefir & frozen banana & cocoa powder smoothie when I got home, topped with a little cereal

Maybe this is a weird dietitian/food blogger thing, but cooking is one of my favorite ways to unwind. All day Saturday, I couldn’t wait to get home and play mad scientist in the kitchen. I had fun playing around with a frittata recipe featuring Brightcore Nutrition’s  TrueFood Supplement—review and recipe coming soon! brightcore frittata

After cleaning and taking a little walk to enjoy the gorgeous weather, I made a baked ginger-peach dessert thing I’m still working on and topped it with a scoop of Siggi’s vanilla yogurt. Who needs ice cream when you’ve got Siggi’s? It was so good. Ginger Peach and Siggi's

How do you unwind after work? 

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

 

Easy Mango Banana Sorbet

A few weeks ago, I hosted a potluck brunch for several of my RD friends. I’d had lofty goals of making some kind of summer-fruit dessert, but then (whomp whom) my oven broke. Though I could have gone the no-bake route, the 90-degree temps got me tbrunch desserthinking about ice cream and sorbet. I looked at the frozen fruit selection in my freezer and then this happened.

As fate would have it, one of my friends’ husbands made an outstanding vanilla ice cream and another brought a gorgeous fruit salad with coconut tossed in—dessert ended up being a gorgeous celebration of summer flavors after all!

 Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1 large frozen banana
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut milk, plus extra if needed
  • 1 cup frozen berries

Directions:

  1. Blend first three ingredients in a blender until smooth, adding more coconut milk if needed, a tablespoon at a time.
  2. Fold in berries until well mixed.
  3. Pour sorbet into a freezer-safe container and freezer until ready to eat.

(serves 6)sorbet

What’s your favorite sorbet flavor? 

A Small Collection of Joyous Things

Happy Sunday! How’s your weekend been? I worked yesterday but also found some time to relax, write, test some new recipes, and get a little yoga in. And wine.

pink wine and pen

Speaking of wine, you might like this Shape blog piece where I share some tips for preventing the “drunchies” (aka drunk munchies). Today’s Dietitian tweeted the story before I’d even seen it, and I got a good laugh. I would be the “RD of the Day” for talking about outsmarting your drunk self. Today's Dietitian twitter

A few other small good things I want to share this Sunday:

*For the month of August, I’ll be posting my breakfast every morning on Instagram—the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you want to join in the fun, tag me @jesscording. It’ll be like we’re having breakfast together!

*This microwave has the most ridiculous settings and I love it. I was informed that it is a food service microwave, so no idea what it’s doing in a hospital admin office, but now I know to be careful around the super-wattage. God bless America, that’s all I have to say. food service microwave

*I think I picked my theme song for the year. Or maybe the upcoming decade? After the past almost-ten years of this, it’s time for a change.

 

We’ll see.

Have a beautiful day : )

What’s your theme song? Any go-to drunk munchies?

 

What to Make this Weekend: Spice up your life

Yep, I went there. Any gal between the ages of say, 27 and 33, is probably giggling/cringing right now over memories of dancing to this song or this song in her bedroom and maybe or maybe not choreographing dances to said songs with her friends and debating for hours the true meaning of “zig-a-zig-ah” and whether the “put it on, put it on” in this song was about safe sex.

Which Spice Girl did you identify with back in the day? At first, I thought I was a Baby Spice (aka Emma Bunton) girl, but it quickly became obvious, likely via old-school internet quizzes my friends and I passed around on AOL, that I was actually Posh Spice (Victoria Beckham).

Anyway, um, now that we’ve got that covered…

I recently contributed to an article for Fit Nation about how to spice up your food to promote improve your metabolism. Though there’s no magic-bullet spice or food to guarantee weight loss, there are some that may help. Beyond the super-cool research looking at various compounds in chili peppers, turmeric, and cinnamon, varying the flavors you use is a great way to up the enjoyment factor by helping you feel you’re having a range of eating experiences. In normal-people speak: it keeps things interesting so you don’t get bored or start thinking healthy food is bland.

A few easy ways to work in more spice: 

Add cinnamon to oatmeal, cold cereal, yogurt, smoothies, cottage cheese, baked goods, soups and stews (I love it in chili). This cinnamon amaranth breakfast porridge also sounds delicious!

Add chili peppers to stir-fry, soups, chili, grain dishes, salsa, marinades. Cayenne pepper also pairs well with fruit or makes a great garnish for eggs and meat. This quinoa salad caught my eye too.

Add turmeric to soups, stews, marinades, rice dishes, egg scrambles, or use it to make a tea to kick the butt of any cold. My go-to recipe:

  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Boil turmeric in water until just boiling. Remove from heat and add ginger and black pepper. Drink in small sips throughout the day.

Turmeric is also wonderful for making golden milk, another nourishing drink—probably better suited to the colder months, though!

What are some of your favorite spices? Who’s your Spice Girl? 

 

 

How to Do Eggs for Dinner

Breakfast for dinner is one of the ultimate comfort meals. It happens to be super-nutritious as well. Eggs provide a perfect mix of protein and fat plus tons of important nutrients, and at 70 calories a piece, they offer instant portion control.

avo and egg toast and salad
Added bonus: an omelet on a Tuesday night can make you feel like you’re enjoying a leisurely Sunday brunch. Adding a mimosa to your meal is totally optional, but far from discouraged.

First, figure out what kind of eggs you want. A few ideas:

  • Fried
  • Poached
  • Omelet
  • Frittata
  • Hard-Boiled

Then, to make it a balanced meal, pick some veggies and a carb. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Sprouted-grain toast topped with avocado slices, and a fried eggs; a side of greens
  • Lentils with roasted veggies, a sprinkle of goat cheese or feta, a teaspoon of tahini, and a poached egg
  • Brown rice with cooked mushrooms, scallions, soy sauce, and a fried or poached egg
  • Fill an omelet or frittata with your favorite veggies; serve with whole grain toast or English muffin or half a baked potato

Want something sweet? Try my two-ingredient sweet potato pancake recipe!

You can also think outside the breakfast box and do something like Shakshuka (eggs poached in tomato sauce—or my shortcut version).

Do you like eggs for dinner? Breakfast for dinner in general? 

Peach Berry Crumble with Crunchy Cereal Topping

Though every season offers beautiful fruits and veggies, summer fruit holds a special place in my heart, especially when it comes to dessert. Growing up, blueberry cobbler was one of my favorite summer treats.

peach berry crumbleNow, I’ve sworn up and down on this blog that I am not a baker, but fruit cobblers and crumbles are forgiving enough that even the pastry-challenged can pull off a winner. This lightened-up version serves one person perfectly, but you can easily multiply if you’re feeding a crowd. The topping gets it crunch from crushed cereal. I used Shredded Wheat here, but you can use whatever you like. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 small peach, sliced and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Shredded Wheat cereal, crushed

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Toss fruit with lemon juice and honey. Let sit 10 minutes and then arrange in a single-serving baking dish.
  3. In a small bowl, mix coconut flour, cinnamon, cereal, and coconut oil until it becomes a crunchy, crumble texture.
  4. Press crumble on top of fruit in dish.
  5. Bake 35-40 minutes or until fruit is soft and bubbling and topping is golden brown.
  6. Serve with plain Greek yogurt, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream if desired.

What’s your favorite summer dessert? 

Slow-Cooker Garlic Lemon Chicken

garlic lemon chickenIn the summer months, the last thing most of us want to do is slave over a hot stove or oven. I get a lot of use out of my slow-cooker in the warm weather because all I have to do is put the ingredients in and step away. This garlic lemon chicken is great for salads, pasta dishes, stir-fries, or even sandwiches.

Slow-Cooker Garlic Lemon Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic or 3 cloves, finely minced
  • the juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary or ½ tablespoon dried
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs

Directions:

  1. Whisk together first 4 ingredients.
  2. Pour some of the liquid into the bottom of slow-cooker.
  3. Place chicken in slow-cooker and cover with the rest of the liquid.
  4. Cook on low for 4-5 hours.

What are some of your go-to cooking tools in the summer? 

A Small Collection of Joyous Things

Happy Sunday! Hope you’re having a great weekend. Here’s a short and sweet little list of things that made me happy this week.

*Thursday night I had dinner at Kefi with a friend from grad school. It was so great to catch up over some delicious food. It makes me so happy to hear about the awesome things my lady-friends and former classmates are up to. They are totally rocking it. The food at the restaurant was also delicious. I ordered the grilled branzino and more or less cleared my plate, save for a few potatoes.
kefi branzino

*Speaking of RD/grad school friends, Saturday, I hosted a potluck brunch at my place Saturday. As usual, we had an awesome assortment of dishes. I contributed salmon and a salad that featured stone fruit and gorgonzola and a homemade sorbet that had mango, banana, and berry. My friend Kelly captured it way more beautifully than I could have: Summer Potluck brunch

*After dessert, we took a walk and did a little window shopping. It was really fun to catch up. I feel so lucky to know so many amazing women.

*It’s easy to complain about the weather when it’s hot and humid out, but in some weird way, I love it because it reminds me that it really is summer.

*I was quoted in this Yahoo Health article about yet another study suggesting that junk food causes a drug-like addiction. I generally make a habit of not reading comments on articles I’m in, but some of these were just too funny not to.

I’m working a weekend shift today at my per diem job (maybe this year I will learn how to say no?) but given the hot, humid temps predicted for today, I have a feeling I’ll be very happy to be in the AC.

What’s made you happy this week? 

 

What to Make this Weekend: Food memories

Happy Friday! Hope you’re looking forward to a lovely weekend. I’m spending some time with some lady-friends tomorrow and then have to work Sunday, but it should be a nice work-play balance.

The other day I read this article, “How Jacques Pepin Saved My Life,” by Brett Martin, and it brought a lot of things to mind. It made me very glad that I didn’t write much in a public space about past breakups, especially the really rough ones. It also reminded me of several times in my life where I’ve had an experience that helped me swim back to myself, to borrow a phrase from the author. Though there are a number of ways to in which that can happen, the culinary experiences that wake you back up to the sense of food as pleasure and as a life-sustaining force have a way of sticking out. Here are a few of mine:

*Spending a whole day helping/watching a friend prepare his 18th birthday dinner. It was the height of summer, so the fresh blueberries and tomatoes are what stand out the most. And dessert. I thought I hated creme brûlée, but it turned out I had just never had it with chocolate chips. I spent most of high school eating reheated leftovers or frozen dinners standing up at my desk while I did homework (Amy’s stir-fry bowls in particular), so something about the emphasis on sharing food with your family as a celebration touched on a longing I hadn’t known was there.

*The first time I made a soufflé when I was 23. I suddenly realized how simple ingredients could add up to something spectacular.

*My first time tasting burrata at a restaurant in Italy in 2010. Actually, all the cheese I taste in Italy. And the vegetables, and all the wine I drank. A panzanella salad by the sea is also imprinted permanently into my brain. That whole trip changed the way I think about food and cooking and the experience of eating. panzanella salad in Italy

*The filet mignon with mushrooms I ate right after I closed on my apartment in 2012. It was also the first steak I’d eaten in years. It took me almost 6 months after the end of a long-term relationship with a vegetarian to reconnect with my carnivorous side. I used to over-think menu items so much, feeling pressure, even without that guy around, to order something meatless. I remember this particular lunch very well because it was just me and my dad. My ex-boyfriend’s vegetarianism and its not-so-awesome effect on me had always been a wedge between us. Because teenage rebellion dies hard, I was stubborn about letting my family see me eat meat for a few months after that relationship, even though I’d started to dip my toe back into the waters. Haha I wanted it to seem like I was coming back to the dark side on my own terms. Anyway, on this particular afternoon, I ordered exactly what my mind and body were calling out for and didn’t think twice about it. I mean, I was a freaking homeowner now. Feeling sheepish about not ordering the most virtuous thing on the menu because of an old voice in my head suddenly, finally seemed stupid.  And yes, I have a picture: filet with mushrooms

*There are plenty of other items on here, like the time I realized how easy it is to make pulled chicken in a slow-cooker.  The first time I shelled my own lobster after a day at the beach (with a man-child who would ghost me a week later, but still—the lobster!). The first time I made scallops. Showing someone else how to make those scallops. A night spent over $1 oysters and bourbon at the start of a snowstorm. A random meal out with my mom and sister in Miami, when I was still crying several time a day after a tough goodbye but magically paused to eat some of the best ceviche I’ve ever had.

As we get into this weekend, I want you to think about experiences that have brought you back to yourself, about some of the foods that have woken you back up to your senses. Apparently almost all of mine involve meat and/or seafood and learning how to do things myself.

So you could make seafood this weekend! How about those scallops? I like them best over red lentils with greens cooked with shallot and, ideally, some pancetta, but you can have them over salad, over polenta or grits or whatever the heck does it for you.

What are some of your strongest culinary memories? 

 

Thinking Out Loud: New Moon Ramblings

Happy Thursday! Ready for a weekly dose of randomness? Why not, right?

July 2015 moon*I totally have an app to track the moon. It never hurts to know when you’ll need to take the full or new moon into consideration when trying to make sense of the madness. Yesterday’s new moon has explained a lot about this week. I felt extra-irritable and really needed to work hard to maintain my “I’m happy you’re happy and I totally give a f***” face.

*A new moon often makes me think of the Elliott Smith album by the same name. It was released a few years after his death, but it is so good.

*On a semi-related note, my new favorite “I need a drink” drink is gin with lemon juice and grapefruit-flavored seltzer. And lots of ice.

*As I started writing, I realized that today’s post has an accidental cereal theme. On Tuesday, I posted a link to my YouBeauty guide on how to shop for a healthy cereal.

In my day-to-day life, I am more into hot cereal like oatmeal, but in the summer (which is a whole other kind of day-to-day life? I don’t know, I’m tired), I find I enjoy small amounts of cold cereal, whether it’s as a smoothie topping, mixed into yogurt, with kefir and chia seeds, or even the old-fashioned way with plain old milk. That said, I’m picky. My main criteria are:

  • Less than 5 grams sugar (and ideally no artificial sweeteners)
  • At least 4 grams fiber per serving
  • No nuts, for allergy reasons—it bums me out how many of the tasty-sounding cereals feature sliced almonds!

Sometimes I like to play around with cereal in other contexts. Despite being busy, I’ve made you some nice things in my kitchen. The other night, I made a dessert that’s an actual winner. peach berry crumble

Recipe to come.

Do you feel like you’re affected by the moon? What’s your favorite cereal? 

This post has been part of another Running with Spoons Thinking Out Loud link party, where randomness is the name of the game. Thanks to Amanda for hosting.

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