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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 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.

A Small Collection of Joyous Things: Labor Day Weekend

Happy Sunday! Welcome to another Small Collection, a series I started to help me focus on the things that bring me joy. 

Can you believe it’s Labor Day weekend? That also means it’s the unofficial End of Summer. Cue the violins. Back when I started this weekly gratitude list right after Memorial Day, I was planning to do it just for the summer, as an experiment of sorts. I’ve come to enjoy it so much, though, that I’m going to continue into fall. Taking a few moments each week to note a few things that made me happy.

Here’s a list from this past week:

1.) Friends reunion on Jimmy Kimmel — sort of.

2.) Roasted figs with Greek fro-yo.

roasted figs with froyo

3.) No longer able to resist the siren call of the Vegetti, I broke down and bought on the other day while I was at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Oh dear. It is awesome. #gratuitouspaleohashtagveggetti pasta

4.) Oysters and wine with my mom the other night. Is #MotherDaughterHappyHour a thing yet?


5.) I kind of can’t stand the cuteness when Eli brings his toys onto his bed. It’s kind of a recent thing—I wonder if it’s because I bring a few toys onto my bed at night so he has something to do if he wakes up. As opposed to trying to play with me while I’m trying to sleep, of course. Does anyone else do this or am I just weird/prone to over-thinking these things? Eli and toys

Anyways, cheers to a great summer!

What’s brought you joy recently? 

What I Ate Wednesday #177

What I Ate Wednesday, we meet again. Hope your week is off to a good start. Amanda was musing the other day about how our concept of a weekend changes as we get older and swap cartoons for errands and to-do lists. For those of us who work on the weekends, it can further complicate our sense of what day it is—not to mention what the name of a day really means. 

Between Back-to-School ads and the upcoming 10-year reunion I am mostly likely not going to, I’ve been thinking  about my high school classes lately. Creative Writing was always my favorite, and I got a lot out of English. My sophomore year, we did our Existentialism unit in late winter/early spring, which is basically the most depressing time of the year. All I really remember was that my main takeaway was, “Well, if this is all meaningless and arbitrary, may as well make the best of it?”

Anyway, I kind of feel that way now about days of the week—at least as this point in my life and career. A day is a day is a day. Maybe one day I’ll remember  what a weekend is supposed to feel like, but it’s been a while.

This past Saturday was spent working at the hospital. I actually don’t mind the weekends because it’s quieter and easier to get everything done. I also find patients are really chatty, which can be hilarious. My favorite from that day was when a patient told me that husbands are like pancakes: You usually have to throw the first one out.

I usually pack a lot of good food to get me through the day. Here’s what was on the menu this week:

WIAW 177

  • Breakfast: Greek yogurt with blueberries, coconut flour, and flax with a little cereal on the side for crunch.
  • Lunch: Salad with sardines.
  • Snacks: An unpictured apple; a new-to-me Gnu bar flavor; Dunkin Donuts coffee; a sweet potato with chocolate goat cheese and raspberry jam when I got home (oh, PMS cravings—the weirdness never ceases to amaze me)

sweet potato with chocolate goat cheese

Dinner was a bowl of chili I’d made the day before that was based off this recipe, only I used red kidney beans instead of red lentils and added some black garlic pulled pork.

pulled pork bourbon chili

Before bed, I had a sliced banana with a little peanut butter. Never gets old.

Look out for the grain police!

What was your favorite (or least favorite) class in high school? What are your weekends like now? 

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

Thinking Out Loud: Chocolate Cheese & Other Awesomeness

Welcome to another Running with Spoons Thinking Out Loud link party where stream-of-consciousness is the name of the game! Thanks to Amanda for hosting!

Let’s get right into it, shall we?

1.) My favorite summer dessert of late: roasted peach with Greek fry-yo. All you do is wrap the fruit in foil and roast at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. I guess technically it’s steaming it but whatever! grilled peach

2.) Until recently, I had no idea  that penile thrombosis was a thing. Now I know what to wish on the all the men who’ve been jerks to me…

3.) Puppy toys are the cutest. I promise I’ll stop teasing you soon. puppy toys

4.) I got rid of the garbage can I’ve had since Freshman year of college. Ugh. How is that 10 years ago already? Is it normal to even keep a garbage can that long? Either way—historic s*** in the Keeping It Real household.

5.) I cannot get enough of this song. I had the chance to see Jackson Browne at the Newoprt Folk Festival a few years ago, but it rained and it rained and it rained, and I left early. Listening to this makes me wish I had stayed. Then again, maybe it’s better to associate this song with a windows-open summer afternoon.

6.) I was on a date once with a guy who looked a lot younger than his years. I’d thought maybe he was 35 when we first met. Well, I found out the truth when I joked about my having the musical taste of a 45 year-old-dude and he gave me this look like, “Ummm…” As a Sagittarius, tact is clearly my specialty. Not that 45 is old, per se—it was just a surprise. The joys of being a fire sign…Not that it really matters, but thinking about, my musical taste is probably closer to someone in their late-50’s. Oh well. Next time I’ll say that.

7.) My friend Lauren (who, among her many talents, writes wonderful things about cheese, jam, and the like) is my new hero for turning me on to this chocolate goat cheese from Westfield Farm. I think it deserves its own post, but I’m way too excited to not tell you about it. It’s that good. For all my vegan friends out there, you should tell Daiya to get on this—or start adding cocoa powder to your homemade nut-cheese. Hah, nut-cheese. I’m sorry, I’ll stop. chocolate goat cheese

8.) I’m feeling much better after Sunday night’s little fainting adventure—a little banged up, but a gal’s just gotta keep on keeping on.

What song(s) are you obsessed with lately? Any favorite food finds? 

Stuff I Like: Rosemary Fig Honey

Taste Artisanal HoneyOne of my favorite finds at the Coffee and Tea Festival last weekend was this delicious rosemary fig honey from Taste Artisanal Market, a Pennsylvania-based company that creates a variety of spreads and honeys.

Products like this are exactly what I’m talking about when I encourage patients and clients to move away from artificial sweetener and choose instead to use a small amount of something they love. A little goes a long way—and provides a flavor that takes a humble snack to a new level of awesome.

What I love about this is the subtle but distinct rosemary flavor—it’s the perfect balance to the sweet honey and the slightly tart fig. I’m also a fan of the health benefits associated with rosemary, a powerful anti-inflammatory herb: improved immune function, good digestion and increased circulation. An added bonus:  that optimized blood flow to the brain may improve concentration, which is great if you need to focus at work!

So far, I’ve been enjoying it with sliced apple and cheese—the Trader Joe’s mini bries are a perfect pairing, but a nice goat cheese would work too! Here are a few other ways I plan to try it out:

  • Drizzled over ricotta or plain Greek yogurt
  • On a salad with a little olive oil
  • In a sandwich—maybe a grilled goat cheese & apple creation?
  • As a glaze for chicken, pork, or fish
  • With various cheeses, crackers, fruits, and nuts for a party appetizer plate

What foods or products are you excited about these days? 


Another great summer dessert

I didn’t know what my favorite fruit was until last year. Even now, I don’t even have a one specific favorite, but more a favorite…genre. Genus? Whatever the agricultural equivalent to “genre” is, that’s what I’m talking about.

Anyway, maybe it was all the wine tasting-and-writing or moving to a neighborhood with better markets, but I finally realized sometime in 2012 that I freaking love stone fruit: plums, peaches, nectarines (especially white nectarines), apricots, and especially plumcots.

roasted plumcotBecause roasting things is easy and almost always yields delicious results, I enjoyed a celebratory “my sense of taste and smell are back!” dessert last night of a roasted plumcot served with Greek frozen yogurt and the most gorgeous blackberries I’ve seen in a while. I’m glad it’s only August—I’m so not ready to move on to apples, pears, and pumpkin things yet. Give me a few weeks, and I’ll be ready. Haha now I’m thinking of this song…I’m afraid to count the many David Byrne/Talking Head nods on this blog. Then you’d all really know what a nerd I am.

What are your favorite fruits? Are you ready to move on to fall fruit or are you enjoying a summer sweet-spot? Pun totally intended : )

Summer Awesomeness

Happy Friday, guys! Keep the Firmoo giveaway entries coming!

Here are a few things I’ve been digging on this week:

…and I just saw “This is the End” last night. Really f-ing funny. I laughed so hard for so long you could consider it an ab workout !

What are you digging lately? 

Easy Summer Dessert

I love summer. I even love the sticky humid days that come with it. My theory is that the heat helps me relax because my muscles aren’t as likely to tense up like they do in cold temperatures.

For better or worse, I’m that dietitian who will run down to the kitchen to get someone a meal they’ll actually eat, especially if it’s someone I’m a little worried about.  I’m happy to do it, but it does get exhausting. I have so much respect for nurses and CNAs who are on their feet running around all day long taking care of people. It’s also interesting that I spent so much time talking about weight management with people who want to lose weight only to find myself focusing on getting enough calories to keep up the pace.

Sweating under my lab coat in the humidity isn’t exactly sexy, but when I hang that thing up and head out for the weekend (even if I stayed late to finish all my work), I have almost no trouble transitioning into Personal Life mode. There’s something to be said for putting on a dress and getting out into the summer evening air.

IMG_2640Another thing I love about summer is how much easier food prep is. Meals are just simpler—fresh, in-season produce, less cooking—it’s a beautiful thing. Last night I saw the fruit stand on my way home had some gorgeous black figs for sale. For whatever reason, figs are one of my ultimate comfort foods—they’re just so luxurious and—dare I say it?—a little bit sexy.

One of my favorite ways to enjoy figs is roasted. They’re the perfect addition to many a sweet and savory dish. In the spirit of easy summer desserts, I enjoyed some over a little frozen Greek yogurt with dark chocolate chips. It was absolutely perfect—and a great way to celebrate my one-year-anniversary in my apartment.

This morning I took a great yoga class that focused on the heart chakra. It was an awesome reminder of how much stronger I’ve gotten in the past twelve months—mentally, emotionally, and physically. Like I often say, Always an adventure.

What do you love about summer? Any favorite summer foods? 

Weekend Loves

Happy Saturday! Can you believe it’s June 1st? I woke up this morning really excited about the new month. So far, this weekend couldn’t be more different from last. For starters, it’s freaking sunny out! And hot! Love it.

I also love that I have time for summer reading and diner brunch with friends. My aunt surprised me with a gift card to Ann Taylor LOFT so of course I had to scope out the 40% off sale…

I’m also really digging this new snack of sliced peach/nectarine with cottage cheese and fig & ginger preserves. So many good flavors. I go through phases where I forget about cottage cheese—I tend to alternate between that and nonfat ricotta. I really love how versatile it is, though, especially the no-salt-added kind. Maybe it’s the reign of Gemini influence talking, but I appreciate having the option of going sweet or savory. Options are good.

What are you loving this weekend? 

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