Saturday, November 10, 2012

Skinny Jeans Alfredo

Hi there :)  I hope you've had a great week and are looking forward to the weekend.  I spent last night in bed with a fever - epic fail.  I'm feeling better today so hopefully I'll be able to enjoy at least part of the weekend.  So far today has included lounging around in my pajamas all morning, but at least my fever is gone.  Hopefully, I'll be better in no time!

In my high school and college days, I was obsessed with Lean Cuisine's fettuccine alfredo.  I loved adding broccoli and feeling good that I was making such a "healthy" choice.  Once I became a dietitian, I slowly and surely cut all processed foods out of my diet.  I decided that ingredients and/or chemical compounds that I can't pronounce and don't know the use of really have no place going into my body.  Life does get crazy sometimes, so if I feel like I need a frozen meal to get through the day, I stick with the ones I've already made in pyrex dishes or I pick up something from Chef Amy :)  

When I became gluten-free, my diet really didn't seem to change all that much.  I still made my own meals mostly from scratch, but the ingredients changed. I was just thinking the other day about my beloved alfredo - I had most of the components - so why not try to make a healthier version on my own?  One that was a reasonable portion size and would still allow me to fit into my skinny jeans.  The addition of broccoli really helps to pump up the volume of this meal.  I froze the alfredo in 3 pyrex dishes so they can be packed for a quick lunch that's rounded out with a side of fruit and another vegetable :)  

Skinny Jeans Alfredo


1.5 cups corn pasta
3 cups broccoli, chopped & cooked
1.5 tbsp light, trans-fat free margarine
2 tbsp brown rice flour
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup of parmesan asiago cheese blend
Black pepper, to taste

1. Boil water in a medium sized pan - add pasta and follow manufactures directions.  Drain pasta and set aside.  Add broccoli.
2.  Melt margarine in a medium saucepan, add brown rice flour.  Stir with a spatula to combine - cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
3. Pour in skim milk, continue stirring the milk and flour mixture together until the mixture thickens.
4.  Once mixture has thickened, immediately turn off heat.  Stir in parmesan cheese.
5.  Add broccoli & pasta to sauce mixture.  Enjoy!

What was your favorite staple in high school or college that you no longer eat?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Friday Faves

Hi again :)  TGIF (or almost since I'm publishing this early).  Friday faves are *new* way to show you the things I'm loving on the internet for the week :)  A collection of pinterest finds, clothes, recipes or things I've done for the week, now that I don't have as much time as I previously did to make new recipes.  So... here are my Friday faves :)

From Thought Catalog....

Don't Wait To Be Happy
Worst Ways To Be Broken Up With
32 Things That Are Worth Caring About

From fashion....

This JCrew Pave Bracelet, I die - cheaper versions on Etsy too!

This Lauren Conrad sparkle dress, NYE perhaps?

From life....

Carving pumpkins! 
My bf and I created this one earlier in the week.  Carving pumpkins is no joke, it was seriously hard.  I tried using a regular knife and opted for the one in the carving kit.  Don't forget to roast the seeds on the inside!

Blackened Salmon Success!! 
I've been trying... and subsequently failing when making salmon for years.  I finally tried a blackened salmon recipe that was actually pretty good!  Bad moment - when cayenne pepper filled the air in my kitchen and I thought I was going to choke to death.  Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

What's your friday fave?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Worth Waking Up For

Hi friends :)  Happy Monday!  I hope your week is off to a great start.  My day went pretty well - I worked until 4, went to Target, did a little cleaning, went on a 2.65 mile run/walk and now I'm making dinner and writing this post.  In case you're wondering - dinner's going to be simple - eggs, brussels sprouts and roasted potatoes.  Also, did you know you can cut your finger on aluminum foil?  Ummm, yeah.  You can, lesson learned.

Speaking of simple, I have the most wonderful recipe for you.  It kind of just popped into my head one day when I was trying to figure out what to do with all the left over corn tortillas from the enchiladas I had recently made.  I thought it would be pretty good... I was wrong.. it was incredible.  The first time around, I even used store bought guacamole... the second time I used homemade - it didn't matter, both were phenomenal.

To take this over the top, I recommend buying authentic corn tortillas from the international aisle at your grocery store.  I ended up using Whole Foods 365 chipotle pepper salsa - my new fave - and it really took these over the top.

Um yeah, so this is probably the easiest, most incredible breakfast I've ever made.  I'm being 100% serious. Best of all, it's pretty fool proof.  I've made it for breakfast, I've made it for lunch, it never fails.  I'm addicted.

Breakfast Tostadas


2 corn tortillas
1 egg + 2 egg whites
1/4 cup guacamole
1/4-1/3 cup chipotle pepper salsa
1/4 cup shredded cheddar
1 green onion, chopped
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Place tortillas on baking sheet, spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Toast in a 425 degree oven until lightly crisped - about 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
2. In small bowl, beat eggs until combined.  Spray a small saucepan with non-stick spray, add eggs, stirring continuously until they reach the consistency of your choice. Turn off heat and set aside.
3. Spread 1/8 cup guacamole on each tortilla, top each one with half of the eggs.
4. Next, add 1 tbsp of cheddar on top of the each toastado, layer equal amounts of salsa on each, top with remaining cheese.
5. Sprinkle green onions and cilantro on top of toastados.  Serve!

Crispy from the oven!

Time to feast!

See you later with another post!  Have a great night :)

What's your favorite breakfast?

Wordless Monday

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Day in the Life of a Clinical RD

Hi there!  I've seen other bloggers post "a day in the life" posts.  I thought creating a post of my own could give a little light into what it's like to be a clinical RD.  I've had grad school friends who are studying to be RD's and students who are interested in becoming RD's ask, so I figured why not give a little insight.  Dietetics is unique in that there are so many different areas to practice in - inpatient, outpatient, food service, long term care, community, corporate wellness... all of these containing numerous specialties within themselves, so if this isn't the area for you, it's not a big deal!

My particular position is unique in that I see both inpatients and outpatients - almost like the best of both worlds.  Obviously, every day is a little different and of course every hospital is a little bit different.  I work full-time and am lucky to have another part-time dietitian that works with me.  A lot of our days are crazy busy and I'm grateful to have someone else to bounce ideas off of and ask for advice. On any given day, we might see anywhere between 12-30 inpatients, along with outpatients, test trays and meetings.

One of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of my job is that I work with people who are often ill.  This is challenging in the fact that it can be heartbreaking - imagine talking to a patient and working with them and then finding out that they've passed away overnight.  Imagine reading in a patient's chart that they have cancer and then talking to them about their lack of appetite and realizing in your head that they haven't been told yet.  However, the rewards of my job are worth the brief moments of sadness.  Imagine having an outpatient come back to tell you that they've lost 40 lbs because of your help.  Imagine having an eating disorder patient tell you they never could have successfully gotten further down the path to recovery without you.  Imagine having a patient tell you that you brought sunshine into their room with your smile.

It takes a special kind of person to work in healthcare - you have to be kind, but resilient.  You have to be patient and understanding while simultaneously telling it how it is.  You have to set goals that work for the individual person and have to assess their readiness for change.  Then, if your an RD, there's the basis of anatomy, physiology and biochemistry.  I'm lucky that I found a career that I love so much.  And so now, here's a little bit more about my day.... 

7:30 - 9:00 am - Arrive at work.  On most days, I create a to-do list to organize my thoughts before the day gets started and log into my computer to check my work emails.  I print out the census which tells me all of the patients in the hospital, their room numbers and their primary diagnosis.  Next, I head to the cafeteria to grab a cup of hot tea and heat up my breakfast - usually oatmeal or an egg & cheese sandwich plus fruit.  When I get back to my desk, the next part of my day starts - screening.  In other words, I go through the list of patients to determine who we need to see for the day based upon their diagnosis.  Every hospital is a little different in their screening protocol, but a simple way to think of it is that we see the most complex patients the fastest.  We also receive consults from physicians/nurses and those patients move to the top of our list as well. 

9:00-11:30 am - Leave my office and head up to the floors - the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is always first, although on days that there are two of us we split up ICU and the Rehab floor.  ICU patients often need nutrition support - either through IV nutrition (Total Parenteral Nutrition, TPN) or tube feeding (Enteral Nutrition, EN) - any dietitians out there know that we always prefer EN to TPN... but I won't make this post too technical.  If I was recommending a tube feeding for the patient, I would look at their past medical history, labs, diagnosis, whether or not they were mechanically ventilated etc. and then I would pick the formula that was most appropriate for the patient.  In basic terms, a formula is a liquid nutrition supplement - different formulas meet the needs of different patients based upon their ratio's of amino acids, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals.  On Rehab days, I'll see the patients on the floor and then I'll attend an interdisciplinary meeting - other disciplines will discuss the patients progress and I'll contribute where I think the patient is from a nutritional standpoint and how we can improve their nutritional plan of care. 

11:30-12:00 pm - Time to head back to my office for lunch time!  I always pack and then we eat our lunches in the cafeteria :)

12:00-1:30 pm - Back up to the office to pick up my binder.  Now, the medical floors are a little different.  Essentially, I do the same type of thing as I visit patients all afternoon.  However, on these floors the patients are often at a lower acuity level, meaning that providing dietary education here is often more appropriate than it would be in the ICU setting.  Other things I'm concerned about aside from education include weight loss, poor dietary intake, taste changes and problems chewing/swallowing.  Dietary education doesn't always mean "how to lose weight" as one might think - typically, it's more along the lines of "how to manage your chemotherapy symptoms," "how to follow a low sodium diet," "how to count carbs and manage your diabetes" and "how to eat higher calorie/higher protein snacks".  Honestly, the education that I give to inpatients is almost never about weight loss.

1:30 - 2:15 pm - Pack up my binder and head to interdisciplinary rounds.  The patients are discussed one at a time; I love rounds because they give me the opportunity to learn about patients that I need to see that may not have triggered in my earlier screening.  Things I might learn include extremely low or high BMI's, the presence of pressure ulcers or uncontrolled blood sugar. 

2:15-3:30 pm - Continue to see patients until I've finished everyone that I need to see for the day.

3:30-4:00 pm - Return to my office track how many patients have been seen for the day, schedule any outpatients, return any phone calls I've received throughout the day.  Clean up my desk and head home!

There you have it :)  Often, my days are also filled with things like meetings and outpatients, but if I had to describe a basic day then it would be this one :)

Any questions?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Weekend Favorites

Hi there :)  In an effort to blog more, I thought I'd start posting a list of Saturday Favorites - things I've found from around the web throughout the week that I love.  Another way to step outside of the food blogging realm and dive a little deeper into myself.  You'll notice some of these things are serious, like #1, provide entertainment, like # 4, or sigh have to do with cooking like #5. I couldn't get away from the food blogging completely could I...

1. I love the Thought Catalog.  Basically, Thought Catalog is a list of random musings and articles by different authors.  I read this article, Let Me In, and almost got teary....since the person that the article is written to sounds a lot like me. It's comforting to know I have a twin out there who is as equally complicated as I am.  Anyway, onto to the rest.... 

2. Prevention RD's question & answers series - so informative for those of you with nutrition questions and/or questions about becoming a dietitian - Nicole has one of these posts almost weekly and sometimes even I learn new information from them!  You can also look at the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics as another great resource. 

3. M.I.A.'s song Bad Girls - such a good song for running, which reminds me... I heard it for the first time when I was watching this wonderful new tv show and that leads me to #4.

4. The Mindy Project- a hilarious new comedy on fox.  I've been watching it on hulu and I can even say in all seriousness that I watched the first episode twice.

5. Cooking Light's Pan Seared Scallops - I always order scallops at restaurants and I would like to be able to make them at home... I have to admit I'm a little nervous that they might turn out like my great salmon debacle.   Look how amazing these scallops from Cooking Light are?

What are your weekend favorites?

A Rant. A Recipe.

Sigh, I'm writing this post out of sheer frustration, in hopes that someday I'll look back on it and laugh.  A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how I'd started running and completed my first 5K with the help of an awesome physical therapist.  Physical therapy had been going well and I even got word last weekend that I'd only need to come in for one more visit... finally success at last.  I was overjoyed, I was finally back to where I had been before my knee had started bothering me and I couldn't wait to be able to run farther and longer... I was also ridiculously excited to run the Susan G Komen 5K that was coming up this weekend.

It all started Tuesday - I decided I would go for a 2.5 mile run, then back off and run a mile later in the week before the race.  I laced up my running shoes and out the door I went, my first mile flew by, the second mile was a little harder, but no problems.  I rounded the corner to work my way back, about 1.5 miles into my run and I felt it.  My left knee, starting to hurt.  I stopped to walk and stopped to stretch on some stairs by a church, I thought about running again but knew in my heart that was a bad idea.  I started the long walk back as my knee continued to hurt.  Maybe this doesn't seem like a big deal to you, but I can sum up what was and is to me in three small words.

It was devastating.

That's right, devastating.  Not in a "I'm being a drama queen because I can't run" kind of way, but an "I feel like an absolute failure because I have been and always will be a diehard perfectionist kind of way" It took everything in me to resist the urge to cry as I limped down the sidewalk.  What a failure.  Maybe you've run tons of races and never had an injury or maybe you have.  It feels horrible to work towards something you want so badly and then physically not be able to do it.  It is awful.  When I think about the race tomorrow, I literally get teary.  So what if it's a 5K walk/run, it was supposed to be a 5K run for me and now it won't be.

So sure, they'll be plenty of other 5K's.  Everyone tells me it's not a big deal, to just go at my own pace and it will be fine. I won't get to push myself and since I won't get to push myself, I won't get to be proud of myself either.  They'll be other 5K's....but still.      

And for listening to my rant, I suppose that I'll leave you with a recipe....

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes


3 large sweet potatoes
1 C 0% greek yogurt
1 C 2% shredded cheddar
1/4-1/3 cup green onions, chopped
2 tbsp bacon bits
1/4 tsp hot sauce (more to taste)

1. Wash and dry sweet potatoes, prick with a fork.  Pre-heat over to 400 degrees.  Cover potatoes in foil, baked ~45 minutes until soft.
2. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl, set aside.
3. Remove potatoes from oven, slice in half.  Scoop out insides of potatoes and combine with greek yogurt mixture. Decrease oven temperature to 375 degrees.
4. Stuff potatoes with greek yogurt mixture, top with additional cheddar and green onions if desired.
5. Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes until top are golden brown. 

What do you want to rant about?

Monday, September 17, 2012

27 Before 28

Last year, I wrote a post around the time of my birthday called 26 lessons learned.  For this post, I reflected upon my life and listed the most important lessons that I had learned up until that point.  However, it would seem a little redundant to make this years post 27 lessons learned.  Instead, I pondered what I wanted this post to be about - after all, I started this blog as a way to not only share my love of cooking but also as a way to look back on my life to see how I had grown and changed throughout the days, months and years.

A couple of weeks ago, I was randomly browsing my hard drive and found a list that I had made when I was 23 of things that I wanted to do before I turned 27.  Clearly, I forgot about that list, but some of the things on the list actually happened such as starting and finishing a master's program in nutrition science.  Other aspirations that happened by magic included going on a beach vacation, buying rainboots and getting a massage.  The concept of making a list of things I wanted for my life is definitely not foreign to me, I made a list of what I wanted in a job before I found mine and I've created vision boards before.

I decided that it would be a way to challenge myself if I made a list of 27 things to do before I turn 28... then as the year goes on, I can feature future blog posts of how I've accomplished each one.  It's also a way to face things I've been afraid of or put off as time has gone on. 

So, now I present to you...

27 Things To Do Before 28

1. Take a cooking class - after all, I love cooking, so why wouldn't I want a way to sharpen and refine my technique?

2. Go to yoga once a month - ideally, I would like to go to yoga more than this, but it's important to start small. I've loved every yoga class I've ever gone to and with free yoga at Lululemon on the weekends, I can't say I have any excuses.

3. Run a 5k - as in, run the whole 5k without stopping.  I've run/walked a 5k before and finished in a decent amount of time but my next 5k goal is to run the whole time without stopping.

4. Keep a journal for 21 days - this was on my previous list, except the goal was 30 days which seems pretty lofty to me.  Periodically, I've written my thoughts at various time points in my life but never consistently.   

5. Get a passport - even if I don't have a set vacation, I would really like to travel out of the country at some point and time and a passport is definitely the first step.

6. Meditate 3 times a week and work up to daily - this should be underlined and in caps.  Nothing ever makes me feel as connected to myself and to life as much as quiet time to reflect and listen, but for some reason I don't make enough time for it.  If you're new to meditation or aren't sure where to start, I recommend reading this article from Whole Living and if you're ready to dive a little deeper, try reading one of Sonia Choquette's books.

7. Continue crafting - is it against the rules to make a goal one of the things I already do? The thing is, in the past year, I've explored the crafty side of my personality that I loved so much during childhood.  Thankfully, pinterest fully supports this goal!

8. Carve a pumpkin - I haven't done this in so long.  When I was little, my grandpa and I would carve pumpkins every Halloween.  I always looked forward to it and maybe now that I'm 27 my carving skills will have improved (although, I seriously doubt it)  

9. Go to a football game - nothing says fall like football and last year I only went to one game.  Even though I don't always know what's going on, I always enjoy the atmosphere.

10. Make a chocolate chip tofu cheesecake - my favorite dessert of all time, but I only end up making it once a year if even that.... so clearly that needs to change.

11. Go on a bike ride - on a trail, obviously.  I haven't been on a bike since 8th grade and honestly they kind of terrify me a little bit.  The funny thing is, I remember liking to ride my bike but being scared of cars, so if I rode on a trail this wouldn't be an issue.  There wasn't really anyone to teach me to ride it, except for my friends, so I can't say that I've got the best skills. 

12. Go on a picnic - something I have always wanted to do and have never done!  I love cooking, so why not pack it into a basket and head to the park?

13. Waste less time on my laptop - does this happen to anyone else?  I come home from work, I'm tired, so I grab my computer and look at blogs/pinterest.  Before I know it, I've wasted a ridiculous amount of productive time, so perhaps I should set a limit of 30 minutes a day?

14. Don't always multitask - multitasking can be a great thing, but not when you're trying to relax.  At the end of a long day, I'll be trying to check & send emails while eating dinner and trying to watch tv - and then I just end up stressed which is the opposite of how this was supposed to make me feel.

15. Continue to follow my budget - I'll admit this isn't always easy but lately I have been having a much easier time.  I've always had a lot of anxiety when it comes to money, but having a budget in place helps me to feel much more confident.

16. Become a better friend - because I can.  I can listen more and talk less, I can ask about difficult situations going on in friends lives instead of just saying let me know if you need anything, I can pay more attention to how other people are feeling, everyone can do these things.

17. Perfect a signature cookie recipe - everyone has something that they make really well... so since I love baking, I would love mine to be cookies.

18. Spend more time with my grandma - this one is hard now that I'm working full-time, I'm always there on the weekends and I try to call every single day, but she doesn't always remember that I was there or that I've called... which can be hard, but it helps me to know that I'm doing the best I can right now. 

19. Blog at least one time per week - blogging has been so hard once I've started working, but I think that once I work on #13, I'll be much more efficient at having time to blog.

20. Plan a trip - it's always fun to go somewhere, no explanation needed. 

21. Be more grateful - we can all be better at appreciating what we have and reflecting on it everyday.

22. Take a class - it might be a one time class, or it might be a series class.  I'm interested in calligraphy, photography, cake decorating, ballet....the list goes on and on :)

23. Read one book per month - gosh, it used to be that I could read one book in a matter of days...but now it takes me so long that I have less time.  Next up on my list, Gone Girl.

24. Volunteer - even if it's just once or even if it's more consistent.  In college, I volunteered between 2-5 hours a week at the hospital, went on a Habitat for Humanity trip and was always participating in random volunteer events.  I miss it.

25. Discover the area of dietetics I'm passionate about - I'm fortunate that my job is giving me exposure to so many areas of my profession and love it.  I know that at some point I want to obtain a specialty certification from CDR, which is a goal that I hope to be working towards once I'm 28... and since these go together Continue to further my education in my field- I'll do this by attending workshops, seminars, online trainings etc.  Even though I'm done with my continuing education requirements, I still want to be able to learn and grow my knowledge to better serve my patients.  

26. Complete one month of the Physique 57 challenge - now that I've been running, completing the challenges that Physique 57 posts on their website are difficult for me to accomplish.  However, winter will be here before I know it and I'll be looking for a workout that I can complete indoors.  Finishing the challenge will be difficult for me, but I think it would be a great accomplishment!

27. Try a book on tape & stay more current with the news - numerous people have asked if I've ever tried a book on tape with my long drives for work.  I haven't but I'm thinking this could be a good avenue to help me "read" more books.  I listen to NPR fairly often in the car which helps me to stay up on current events, but I would like to know more about what's going on in the world. 

What do you want to do before your next birthday?

Caprese Could Be My Favorite

Happy Monday everyone!  It's looking like it's going to start raining here any second - considering I have a few last minute errands to run, I had better get myself together.  The post office, dry cleaner and Target are all still let on my to do list.

I've had the past week off of work and it's been so refreshing to just relax, reset and get ready to go back.  Unfortunately, I feel like the past week has flown by and I've gotten used to sleeping in until 8:00 am....which doesn't seem so late unless you get up at 6:00 am everyday :)  I do miss the people that I work with and having my set routine. I won't be using any more paid time off days until the holiday season, but I've had plenty in the past month! 

Everything I've made this summer has had basil, tomatoes and mozzarella in it.... sigh I had better get it together before I become a one trick pony.  Seriously though, can you ever go wrong with basil, tomatoes and mozzarella?  I found a recipe for caprese lasagna, but has any one else noticed that gluten-free rice lasagna noodles cost a pretty penny?  As in almost $5 per box. Thanks, but no thanks.  I decided to layer pasta in this dish to create a similar concept that was much cheaper :) Enjoy! 

Caprese Pasta Bake


1- 8oz box quinoa pasta
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp chopped garlic
2 tbsp brown rice flour
2 C fat-free milk
2 bunches basil, chopped
2 tomatoes, finely sliced
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2 slices brown rice bread

1. Pre-heat oven to 375. Follow box instructions for boiling pasta, drain and set aside.
2. In a medium size saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add garlic and simmer about 2 minutes.
3. Fold brown rice flour into garlic butter mixture, about one minute.
4. Add milk to flour mixture, stirring constantly until thickened, this is called making a roux, be patient and continue stirring.  I find it helpful to use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the pan.  You may need to increase the heat on your stove slightly.  Once the mixture has thickened, reduce heat to low.
5. Spray a medium size baking dish with cooking spray,  add 1/3 cup of the white sauce and spread across the bottom of the dish.  Next, add 1/2 of the pasta, basil, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.  Add 1/2 of the white sauce to the top and repeat the layers until all ingredients are used.  Alternatively, you can add the pasta to the sauce mixture and stir in the ingredients if you are too lazy to layer :)
6. Finally, add brown rice bread to a small food processor to create bread crumbs.  Layer crumbs on top of the pasta dish.
7. Bake for 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

What pasta bakes are you currently loving?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Welcome Back

Hello!  It's been almost 2 months since my last blog post.  I love this blog and how it's allowed me to look back on the past year of my life, but 2 months without blogging is 2 months too long.   Does anyone have any suggestions on how to change that?

What have I been up to? Well, since July 23rd, quite a bit - there have been numerous weddings, baby showers, summer parties, birthdays, along with my job that I love. I've started running more, wound up in physical therapy and completed my first 5k!  I showcased my creative side and wound up making some pretty badass projects - I painted wine glasses, made modge podge photo coasters and etched glasses for my bf's birthday and created these beautiful confetti wine glasses - a total anthropologie knock off.

I also tried green juice from Whole Foods and decided that I need a juicer in my life  Fresh juice in Hawaii was incredible, but when I saw that my Whole Foods had installed a juice bar, I was so happy that I wanted to cry. 

Anyway, in other news, my 27th birthday is this weekend!  Was it really a whole year ago that I blogged about my 26 lessons learned?  I'm anxious to look back on this post, to see how I've changed and grown in the past year. 

See you later with a birthday post and a recipe post for a super easy caprese pasta bake :)  And most likely a tutorial on how to make a Hello Kitty birthday cake, since I'll be doing that for a very special toddler's birthday - happy birthday to the sweetest of the little bears :)

What have you been up to this summer?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Quiche of my Dreams (Almost)

Oh hi there!  I hope you're having a fabulous day.  I took a paid time off day today - it's gone by quickly and I can't believe my work week already starts again tomorrow.  I had a great weekend though so there aren't any complaints here :)

This post is going to be about brunch.  Obviously, brunch is my favorite meal.  When I was a little girl, going to brunch was always a Sunday after church event.  Now that I'm an adult, I'm lucky if I can drag any of my friends out of bed early enough to go with me - the exception is my friend Leah who is always willing to go.

When I started cooking, I couldn't make any "brunch" type foods except for scrambled eggs.  Gradually, I tackled pancakes, waffles, over easy eggs, omelets and finally... quiche.  If you've never had quiche, think of an egg custard type dish with cheese, vegetables and/or meat that is served in a pie crust.

Now, let me  just say that quiche is one of my all time favorite foods... but being gluten-free makes it awfully hard to have a quiche with a crust.  I've tried potato crusts (obsessed) and recently I've seen a couple of different recipes that use cornbread as a crust.  The issue?  They all use pre-made cornbread mixes... which don't exist for those of us who are gluten-free, at least not at my grocery store.  So, I combined my cornbread recipe with components of my favorite quiche recipe and this little beauty was born.  Be warned, it makes 2 quiches!  I did slice and freeze my quiche - it heated up easily in the microwave with no problems weeks later.

The final verdict on this recipe?  It's awesome, serve it for brunch and your guests with rave over it.  It makes a lot, so if you are going to be eating it for weeks that can be rough. I do have to say though that my potato crust quiche is still hands down my favorite...but, if you've read this blog for awhile you know that probably has to do with my mad love affair with potatoes.  So have your cornbread crust and maybe a mimosa and celebrate the best meal of the day... brunch!  

Spinach Goat Cheese Quiche w/Cornbread Crust


For crust:
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 1/4 cups brown rice flour
1 tbsp sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1.5 cups milk
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp butter or trans-fat free margarine melted.
2 eggs

For filling:
1-16 oz package frozen spinach
4 oz goat cheese
1 cup fat-free sour cream
8 eggs
2 egg whites

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine cornmeal, brown rice and baking powder in a small bowl stirring until combined.
2. Next, add 2 eggs, milk and butter/margarine to dry ingredients stirring just until combined.
3. Lightly grease two 7-inch springform pans (if you have different sizes it's okay) - divide batter equally between pans.
4. Bake cornbread crust for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.
5. Thaw spinach in microwave, drain.  Add goat cheese to spinach mixture stirring until combined. 

6. Next, add sour cream, eggs and egg whites to spinach mixture. Whisk to combine.
7. Pour egg mixture evenly between the 2 springform pans.
8. Bake for 25 minutes or until the filling jiggles slightly in the middle but not on the sides.  Set to cool 10 minutes. 

What's your favorite quiche filling?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Summer Kind of Bruschetta

Hi there!  How are you today?  An extra hi to any new readers out there :)  I hope everyone is having a great start to their weekend so far.  This week just flew by and after an especially busy day at work today, I'm happy it's finally here. 

Today's post is about one of my favorite quick summer meals.  As much as I love summer, I don't love the 100 degree heat... which there has been a surplus of lately.  When it's sweltering outside, the last thing I want to do is turn on my oven - so I tend to stick to simpler meals that require minimal effort.  Smoothies, hummus veggie sandwiches, salads, veggie burgers are all obvious choices.  I was a little bored in the kitchen the other day and I started thinking about bruschetta....then I started thinking about a balsamic reduction I had made recently for a risotto recipe.... plus I had goat cheese in the refrigerator that was about to expire.  Combine them together and this recipe was born!

Bruschetta is a simple classic that always wows everyone away.  Bread, olive oil, basil, tomatoes, what's not to love?  If you're vegan, leave out the goat cheese.  Not gluten free?  Substitute whole wheat bread for extra fiber.  Feel free to tweak and adapt this recipe... if you have any suggestions for me, as always, leave them in the comments :)    

Summer Bruschetta with Balsamic Reduction


1 large tomato
1/4 cup basil, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 slices gluten-free bread
1 oz goat cheese
1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette

1. Finely dice tomato into coarse pieces, use a paper towel to blot/remove some of the seeds.
2. Next, using a kitchen scissors, chop basil finely into pieces.
3. Combine chopped tomato, basil and 1/2 tbsp of olive oil in a small bowl.  Set aside to let the flavors combine, about 30 minutes.
4. Drizzle remaining 1/2 tbsp olive oil over bread slices.  Place in toaster oven set at 350 degrees until golden brown.
5. While bread is toasting, heat balsamic vinaigrette over medium high heat until boiling.  Stir with a spatula, about 3 minutes, until reduced by half and a syrup begins to form - this is your balsamic reduction! 
6. Remove bread from toaster oven, spread each slice with 1/2 ounce goat cheese, cut each slice diagonally.  Top with tomato mixture.
7. Lightly drizzle balsamic reduction over your bruschetta.  Devour :)

What's your favorite summer meal?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Whatever Wednesday

Oh hey there friends, happy hump day!  Does anyone else love Wednesday as much as I do?  We're so close to the weekend - which is a long weekend for most of you!  Not for me though :)  I adore my job....but I also adore the weekend too.  This week has just flown by, not that I'm complaining.  Next stop on my list for the week - 3 more workouts, making at least 2 new recipes, drinking copious amounts of coffee, spending as much time as I can outside on my lunch hour and getting a little bit more sleep.  Oh yeah and I wanna make these, cause Dreena Burton is my dessert hero.  Today, I'm going to share something that's awesome. I got inspired when I saw these cheese quinoa cakes on Spoon Fork Bacon then I basically adapted everything and changed proportions to make them mine, they kind of remind me of my potato pancakes but with quinoa! 

So, moving on, I must admit that today was kind of an off day for me.  Does anyone else have those?  Everything went really well, I just  Apparently, I wasn't alone in feeling this way since one of my friends said she was "completely over today" and I couldn't agree more.  Anyway, on my commute home I stopped to pick up new sunglasses... sigh, I was looking for aviators but I just can't find cute ones.  Any suggestions on where to pick up a cute pair?  Fossil maybe?  After I came home,  I was tired and a little cranky, so I decided to skip my workout (there is seriously no point in going to Pure Barre when you aren't motivated), drink a La Croix, paint my nails, watch The Bachelorette and make this amazing recipe that I'm about to share with you. Whatever Wednesday, I'm over you. Bring on the weekend, oh yeah and get to your kitchen and make this now! 

no words necessary
Quinoa Cheese Cakes 


1 cup quinoa, uncooked
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup 2% cheddar cheese
1/4 cup brown rice flour
4 eggs
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
black pepper & sea salt to taste
1/4 cup grapeseed oil

1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions - or cheat and use a rice cooker.  Set aside to cool.
2. Next, combine quinoa, cheeses and brown rice flour in a large bowl.  Beat eggs, add to quinoa cheese mixture.
3. Stir in chopped onions, red pepper flakes, sea salt and black pepper until combined.
4. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tbsp of grapeseed oil over medium high heat.  Pack quinoa mixture into 1/4 cup measuring cup, place in saucepan and flatten into rounds.  Halfway through the batter, add the remaining grapeseed oil to the pan.  Continue to add the quinoa cakes in 1/4 cup increments until no batter remains. 
5. Cook each side until golden brown.  Feast :) Top with fat- free sour cream or greek yogurt and more green onions.

See you later with a post about who knows what!

Are you over Wednesday too?

Whatever Wednesday Eats

Oh hi there friends :)  Just stopping by for a quick WIAW post before I post a new recipe later this evening.  I hope you're having a fantastic Wednesday - welcome new readers!  If you're new around here, you can find all my recipes and favorite posts using the tabs at the top of the page.  And now.. let's bring on What I Ate Wednesday (also known as Whatever Wednesday to be explained in my next post cause I'm feeling kinda crabbyyy)  Enjoy!

PS: Don't forget to click the link at the top to check out what other bloggers are eating on Wednesday too!

So, I started off the day the way I always do - coffee + unsweetened almond milk - because let's get real, I always need coffee at 6:00 am.  I have a Tassimo that I worship and it's perfect for mornings when I don't have time to brew a whole big batch...

Next up, my favorite breakfast... a gluten-free multigrain English muffin, topped with muenster cheese and an egg...oh and raspberries which I ate at my desk at work while I worked on screening patients for the day.

Anddd I totally forgot to take a picture of my lunch.  Sorry, but in my defense I was outside, without my iphone on a beautiful May day and had been seeing patients all morning.  Can you blame me for not wanting to walk all the back inside with my food?  Next week, I'll try harder to remember :)  I tried to re-create in the comfort of my own kitchen.... 2 slices of gluten-free pizza topped with spinach, black olives and tomatoes with a side of baby carrots - err except the slice in this picture looks itty bitty but I swear they weren't.

Now, onto snack one of the afternoon.  Gluten-free pretzels, sunflower seeds and a few random chocolate chips.  

After driving for 50 minutes and walking around the store looking for new sunglasses, I was hungry so I broke out my apple and paired it with a string cheese.  One of my all time favorite snacks for sure.

Next up was dinner.... I made this incredible quinoa cakes, paired them with a side of broccoli and fat-free sour cream.

Catch you later with the recipe for the quinoa cakes!

What was your favorite thing that you ate this Wednesday?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

When Life Happens

Hi there!  If you're a regular around these parts, you've probably been wondering if I'll ever be returning to the blogsphere.  Of course the answer is yes :)  The bigger question at hold is where have I been?  The easiest answer that I can provide you with, is that sometimes when life happens, blogging doesn't happen.  Haven't you ever noticed blogs that you loved suddenly go under when a major life event happens? A wedding, a baby, a move, a graduation.... and as the reader your left feeling kind of sad.  I never understood why someone who loved to blog would just stop, but I have to say that I do understand (and no, I'm not leaving).

I started my blog mostly for myself - to be able to look back and say "OH! That's where I was then," but I also started it to share my recipes with the world.  I noticed as I blogged during graduate school, that whenever my life picked up and got busy, my blog slowed down.  For me personally, it's always been an issue of balance - having time to eat a healthy diet (and cook one!), sleep enough, exercise enough and spend enough time with my family and friends.  The question is, what is enough? How does blogging fit in there?

In my case, I started a new job as a clinical dietitian which I truly adore.  I learn so much everyday and I love the staff at my hospital - everyone is so kind.  I love that I get to work with people and that I'm able to educate them on how to follow a healthy diet.  It's been incredible.  However, I do end up driving 45 minutes in each direction to my job (which I don't mind - it's relaxing and I like having that much time with my own thoughts) but by the time I get home, it's time to work out and do 8,000 other things.  The evenings have left me little time for coming up with new recipes :(  In the beginning, I really struggled with maintaining a good work/life balance, but I feel like now I'm starting to figure it all out.

What does that mean?  Well, for one, I missed blogging and I've started to think of ways in which I'll incorporate it in.  This will probably mean more planned posts on the weekend and less posts during the week...then I'll kind of go from there. 

Since you're probably dying for a recipe, I strongly encourage you to make this Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil Risotto from Cooking Light.

I fully encourage using 8 oz mozzarella :)

Now, I'm off to pure barre, the bank, the car wash, the tailor, goodwill, maybe the shoe repair shop....and later the zoo :)  See you soon, but not too soon :)

What have you been up to lately? Do you blog consistently?    

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pasta Carbonara, Minus Bacon

Hi there!  I hope you're having a fantastic Tuesday.  I'm getting ready to curl up on the couch with the newest episode of New Girl.  Seriously, if you've never watched it's laugh out loud hilarious, not to mention the re-watch factor!

Today was a very lazy day for me.  Lots of lounging around and reading, followed by an impromptu phone interview, grocery shopping at Kroger, cooking two meals, limping to the mailbox and dodging the multitude of runners that were enjoying the nice weather.  I love the sunshine and I'm definitely missing my long walks - hopefully, the stress response (pre-stress fracture) in my foot continues healing.  It's gotten better over the past 2.5 weeks, but I've only been able to wear my danskos which I lovingly refer to as my nun shoes without pain.  Danskos are the most comfortable shoes in the entire world, even if they aren't so flattering.

Tomorrow's agenda includes catching up with lots of old friends, I can hardly wait. Now, onto the recipe I'm sharing today..... for vegetarian pasta carbonara!  Oh yeah, that's another thing.  I gave up meat for Lent and discovered in the process that I'll never go completely vegetarian.  Of all people I was shocked -  I follow a mostly pescetarian diet because that's what I like and how I end up eating.  However, I miss occasionally being able to order chicken at Chipotle, the local organic bacon at my favorite restaurant... and proscuitto wrapped dates.  It's funny, because I rarely eat meat and didn't think I would miss it but apparently I do.  That's something that I'm okay with, but sometimes other people aren't - which is precisely why I don't believe in labels of what I "am" when it comes to my dietary habits.

Anyway, pasta carbonara was a recipe that always intimidated me.  I love eggs, especially over easy eggs, but the idea of runny egg on my pasta kinda freaked me out.  I did more research and found that the heat of the pasta cooks the egg.  I figured I would try it and if it was terrible, I would just pitch it. Oh my gosh, was I wrong, this dish was out of this world amazing.  Not only was it ridiculously easy - one of my friends has made it and she thought it was easy too - it was incredible and quick.  Perfect for those nights when you only have enough time to boil water :)

Vegetarian Pasta Carbonara


1 serving corn pasta
1 egg
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/8 tsp basil
ground black pepper

1. Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain. Return pasta to pot.
2. Crack egg into bowl, whisk to combine.
3. Add 1/2 of the parmesan cheese & garlic to pasta, place egg mixture on top.  Immediately, begin whisking the egg into the pasta without stopping until a smooth silky sauce forms - about a minute.  The heat of the pasta will cook the egg, but if you stop stirring the egg will scramble :)
4. Place pasta on a plate, top with remaining parmesan, basil and black pepper.  Feast away!

See you tomorrow or the next day!

What's your favorite easy pasta recipe?