Monthly Archives: November 2009

Plantains, Trees, and Pancakes

I have officially fried twice in my LIFE. Yesterday, husband and I fried up (in canola oil) a plantain, sprinkled with ground sea salt. Yummm! Husband wasn’t expecting to enjoy plantains, but he gives them a thumbs up! Surprise, surprise!
 Looks like one huge, bruised banana..but not the same!!
 
 My second attempt at frying was a success compared to my falafel several weeks back. Though, frying will obviously never be something REMOTELY “regular” in this household!
 
 Fried Plantains — very popular Puerto Rican food
And like many others out there, we have officially decked out the crib for the season encroaching! We purchased a fake tree at Hobby Lobby last year AFTER Christmas (hello, 75% off sales!!). Mark also won the ornament battle — we have a tree decorated in orange and blue. Yes, Go Illini!
 
 That THING to the left of our tree is a University of Illinois “Sky Box” (AKA vending machine). *eye roll*…when will my house NOT look like a bachelor pad?
 
 Husband and Lily.
We put the tree in our third bedroom because Lily loves to eat anything and everything she’s not supposed to. Next year, I look forward to having the tree in the living room where I can enjoy it every night. I do have a mini tree in the kitchen, though…
Last night we tried PUMPKIN PANCAKES! Allison emailed me this recipe for the Newman’s Own Organics Giveaway and her winning entry was the recipe. Thank you, Allison…and keep an eye out for that package, it went out today!
 
 Um, YUMMMMMMMMMMM
 
 A dollop of FF Cool Whip and a sprinkle of cinnamon..nom nom nom!!!
 Pumpkin Pancakes
From Allison
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup oats
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 cup pumpkin

In a mixing bowl, stir together dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, milk, water, and pumpkin. Add liquid to dry ingredients. Stir mixture until well blended.
Pour 1/4 cup batter for each pancake onto griddle. Cook until golden brown.
I served with fat-free Cool Whip and cinnamon. Husband used maple syrup. Both were delicious!
Questions:
Have you ever tried plantains? How were they prepared? Did you like them?
Do you have a fake Christmas tree or real Christmas tree?

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Filed under fried food, holiday, pets, recipe

Airport Mishap, Larabars, and Giveaway Winners!

Firstly, I have missed the blog world! My brief 2 1/2 days in Chicago were jam-packed with family, friends, and food. I look forward to catching up my blog-rollers today at some point!
Mom and I did manage to squeeze in a step class yesterday morning. It was supposed to be step + strength, but she decided to kick our butts with an hour of step. It annoyed me to great lengths that the instructor of the class did her helicopters going the opposite way I’ve learned…so I had trouble keeping up with those because my body knew what it wanted to do already!
And then my luck continued at O’Hare Security…
Background story: In April (I think it was April) heading back to Tulsa from my Bachelorette Party, I forgot about a can of hairspray in my carry-on. My bag got searched and my poor, over-loaded packing skills allowed for “Tickle His Pickle,” lingerie, personal lubricants, and all other sex-related personal items given to me by friends, to spew from my suitcase as the older gentleman searched the bag and stander-byes pointed, snickered, and laughed. I tried explaining that it was my Bachelorette Party this weekend and I was heading for home, but I just received an annoyed “whatever, nympho” stink eye. A-w-k-w-a-r-d.
Fast-forward to yesterday when my handbag didn’t make it through the scanner. A gentlemen asked me to step to the side, and asked if there was anything in my bag he needed to know about, as he searched my bag. Told me not to touch anything. He pulled out books, iPod, magazines, wallet, sunglasses, gum…the usual. He ran the bag again and again it looked suspicious. In the VERY VERY bottom of my bag was a paring knife I had brought to work to cut up an apple WEEKS ago. So the security guy 1) thought I was lying because I didn’t tell him it was in there when he asked (didn’t know!!!!), 2) it was shoved to the bottom, and 3) it was wrapped in a paper towel and Ziplock. Thank goodness I don’t look like a crazy person? Scarily, that same knife was in my bag coming from Tulsa to Chicago. Hmmm. Anyways, husband was pretty embarrassed.
Thankfully we’re driving up for Christmas? 🙂
While in Chicago, I was able to visit my personal paradise: TRADER JOE’S!!! I don’t know what was more exciting, the wine sample guy being from south Tulsa and nearly demanding we try every wine he had, or that I finally found these LARABARS everyone’s been raving about! Trader Joe’s was a much-needed fix in this RD’s heart. Oh, and Chianti…had to get SEVERAL bottles of the various Chianti’s TJ’s carries…Mmm!
Ends up, these LARABARS are worth the chatter. I tried the “Cherry Pie” bar this morning and it was delicious! These bars are 190-210 calories and loaded with MUFA’s and PUFA’s…mostly MUFA’s! They’re like a protein bar in consistency, but the protein content is low-to-moderate — the bars are high in fat and carbohydrates. The “Cherry Pie” LARABAR contained NO sodium, 350 mg potassium, 4 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of MUFA’s. The ingredients? Get ready…..dates, almonds, unsweetened cherries. The bars are gluten, dairy, and soy free and also contain 2 grams of omega-6’s. Wish it was omega-3’s but nonetheless, thumbs up, LARABAR!!
Lots to try!
Complaint: Size. I wanted more!!
And, of course…Newman’s Own Organics GIVEAWAY WINNERS!!!
Allison and Andrea!!
Giveaway 1: The Cookie Monster
Newman’s Own Organics Champion Chip Cookies (Chocolate)
Newman’s Own Organics Ginger Hermits
Newman’s Own Organics 54% cocoa Dark Chocolate Bar
Winner of Giveaway #1: Allison!!!!
(THANK YOU for the pumpkin pancake recipe — making them tonight!!)
Giveaway 2: The Smorgasborg
 Newman’s Own Organics White Cheddar Soy Crisps
Newman’s Own Organics California Prunes
Newman’s Own Organics 54% cocoa Espresso Dark Chocolate Bar
Winner of Giveaway #2: Andrea of Andrea’s Wellness Notes 
Send me your addresses, ladies and I’ll hopefully get those out to you tomorrow!
Mrs.RD44@gmail.com
Thank you to all for participating!!

Off to pick-up our pup who’s been at over-night camp for 3 days now…can’t wait to see baby girl! Have a wonderful Sunday, bloggies!

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Filed under exercise, Giveaway, holiday, Larabar, MUFAs and PUFAs, Newman's Own Organics, pets, Trader Joe's, travel, wine

‘Twas the day after a foodie’s happiest of days…

Ends up, mom read my blog post containing my pecan pie cup rant. And upon my arrival to Chicago, a pecan pie had made it’s way into our Thanksgiving dessert line-up. While that was not by design, my Thanksgiving was complete by a small piece of delicious, savory, rich pecan pie. And just for confirmation, I tried a bite of a pecan pie cup. It was all crust, not the ooey-gooey deliciousness defining pecan pie. So, yep, pecan PIE is a Thanksgiving staple for all years to come.
Also in the T-day line up were: turkey, dressing, cranberries, sweet potatoes, jello salad, green beans, cornbread pudding, cheesy broccoli, and….pecan pie. Some delicious African red wine, as well! Mmm! I stuck to one plate, which I did not finish and one slice of pie for dessert. All-in-all, a successful, delicious, satisfying meal without going over the threshold of gluttony.
Mom and I were supposed to go to the gym this morning, however, I over-slept. With puppy being back in Tulsa, I found myself rising at 10am! Oops! Tomorrow…8am…step class + strength class.
Anyone get in a good workout today? Yesterday?? Black Friday participants out there???
We had an amazing Indian lunch with my friend, AJ and now we’re off to see “The Blind Side”…I’ve been wanting to see it since the previews started running in theatres MONTHS ago!!
I hope you all had a wonderful, safe, and delicious Thanksgiving! Don’t forget to enter in to my Newman’s Own Organics Giveaway!

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Filed under exercise, Giveaway, holiday, Newman's Own Organics, sleep

Seriously? …Seriously? (and pssst…a Giveaway!)

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“What we’re really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets.  I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?” -Erma Bombeck
I’m talking to my mom on my way to work this morning, requesting my favorite coffee creamer while she was grocery shopping. Mom just happens to mention, “Well, the store was out of pecan pies, so I got pecan pie cups. Good portion control, right?” Where do I begin with the wrongness of this all.
  1. Pecan pie should be homemade.
  2. Pecan pie cups? Give me a break. No pumpkin PIE is the equivalent of Christmas without a Christmas tree littering gifts beneath it.
I feel so shafted already. Pecan pie is a once-a-year-can’t-live-without-it STAPLE. 
Holds. Me. Together. All. Year. Treat.
As un-healthy as that little tantrum is, I could’ve verbally berated husband last night after he decided he NEEDED (yes, NEEDED) Buffalo Wild Wings. Let’s not be confused here, I love anything involving wing sauce — it’s a guilty pleasure. Just look to the right there and you can see that SEVERAL of my “must-try” recipes contain wing sauce. However, BW3’s is 30 minutes away from home and I had a headache and a wonderful, healthy pad Thai dinner planned. But no, husband NEEDED wings. So, off we go at 8:30pm (had to wait til the game was on!), only to arrive and find that both the restaurant and inhaler-requiring bar were filled to capacity and there was a 40-minute wait. On a Tuesday. One would think they were GIVING AWAY $0.40 wings, my goodness! After flashing him a stink face and a blatant, annoyed eye roll, we left BW3’s for a silent 30-minute commute back home.

I am a man. I do NOT want to watch games (football, basketball, or otherwise) that I care about in a bar watching a TV without volume and obnoxious patrons taking away from my viewing experience. Which leads me to the acceptance of a sad truth: I am old. On a Tuesday evening after an 11-hour work day, I want to be a homebody. I want to be in my warm house, in my cuddly clothes, enjoying healthy, homemade food, watching and listening to my sporting pleasure! Last night being Fighting Illini men’s basketball.

Is anyone else a huge homebody, especially once the fall and winter seasons encroach?
My crankiness subsided this morning when I opened my office door to a package from Newman’s Owns Organics (not to be confused with Newman’s Own). I’ve heard a lot about Newman’s Owns Organics (NOO’s) and I was interested in sampling some of their products. Well, let’s just say I received an early Christmas gift this year! Check out the loot…

Thank you, Newman’s Own Organics!! ❤

Food models, mess, lunch (upper right), Zevia (upper left)…and the loot, scattered! My office is atrocious!

 An array of cookies…chocolate, Arrowroot, and chocolate chip!

 Choooooooocolate! Need I say more? Note: that dark chocolate bar
on the left is opened…I wonder who did that!!
 
 Fat-free AND low-fat Fig Newmans…love the play on words : )
 
 Dried fruit…prunes, apricots, apples, and berry blend. The apples are delicious! They are completely all-natural in taste, not all pumped up with sugar!!
 

For my afternoon snack, I had 2 original Hermits. Um, DELICIOUS! They are so moist and rich in flavor…love them!! Favorite taste from Newman’s Own Organics thus far!!

 
Mint rolls — Peppermint, Wintergreen, Ginger, and Hot (not pictured, oops!)
 Newman’s O’s — Chocolate and Mint!!
 
 There was a 3rd bag, but one of my patient’s ate them. Thumbs up! Especially excited about the protein pretzels!
 
 Soy crisps! Can’t wait to try!
 
 Hot, Wintergreen, Ginger (yum!), and peppermint mints. The ginger ones are delicious!!!
 

And Newman’s Own Organics even sent something for the puppy — dog treats! Lily gives the salmon and sweet potato treats a high-five (and my dog gives high-5’s, no joke!)

And since ’tis the season to be giving…a GIVEAWAY for you all! And because that box weighs about 25 pounds!!! THANK YOU, NEWMAN’S OWN ORGANICS!!!
NEWMAN’S OWNS ORGANICS GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!
There will be 2 winners as there’s plenty of goodies to go around…

Giveaway 1: The Cookie Monster
Newman’s Own Organics Champion Chip Cookies (Chocolate)
Newman’s Own Organics Ginger Hermits
Newman’s Own Organics 54% cocoa Dark Chocolate Bar
Giveaway 2: The Smorgasbord
 Newman’s Own Organics White Cheddar Soy Crisps
Newman’s Own Organics California Prunes
Newman’s Own Organics 54% cocoa Espresso Dark Chocolate Bar
How to enter? Lots of ways! 
Enter up to 4 times by doing one, two, three…or all of the following:

1. Post a comment with your giveaway selection preference below (1 or 2, see above)
2. Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with a link back to your tweet, 
or follow me @PreventionRD
3. If you’re a blogger, post about this Newman’s Own Organics Giveaway with a link back to this post on your blog. Leave a comment below containing your blog/post link!
4. Email me a favorite, healthy recipe at Mrs.RD44@gmail.com
Entries will be taken through Sunday, November 29th at 12pm (Central Time) and the winners will be announced on my Sunday blog post!


Sampled thus far: 70% cocoa organic chocolate bar (super yum!) and organic dried apples. Mmm!


A patient this morning had to fast for a late lab appointment and by the time he made it over to my office for his nutrition appointment, he was so hungry he had a headache. I handed my country bumpkin of a patient Newman’s Own Organics salted pretzels, and that country bumpkin chowed down. And believe you me, I’d have heard about it if he didn’t love’em! Thumbs up, Newman’s Own Organics!!
Looking forward to Pad Thai tonight and an early departure to Chicago tomorrow morning! If our flight is delayed, we’ll be missing Thanksgiving dinner. Wish us luck, O’Hare doesn’t have the best of records when it comes to flight delays.

Have a wonderful, safe, healthful, and relaxing Thanksgiving!

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Filed under dessert, Giveaway, holiday, hunger, marriage, Newman's Own Organics, pets, restaurant, travel

Apple cider vinegar for me, please.

If my memory serves me correctly, I was on the “Apple Cider Vinegar Diet” just before converting to Atkins. Yep, 10 years ago I would’ve done just about anything to not be a size 16 high school freshmen, much less worthy of a Homecoming date other than my BFF. Sob story over. Of course I “saw the light” and am today embarrassed to even admit to my past weight loss endeavors. But hey, most of us have been there at some point in our lives. Well, a lot of us, anyways…
Ends up, vinegar does show some favorable results. While I cannot personally confirm those results myself (as far as weight loss is concerned, anyways), research is in support.
According to WebMD:
Diabetes.
The effect of vinegar on blood glucose levels is perhaps the best-researched and the most promising of apple cider vinegar’s possible health benefits.  Several studies have found that vinegar may help lower glucose levels. For instance, one 2007 study of 11 people with type 2 diabetes found that taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed lowered glucose levels in the morning by 4%-6%.
Weight Loss. 
For thousands of years, vinegar has been used for weight loss.  White vinegar (and perhaps other types) might help people feel full.  A 2005 study of 12 people found that those who ate a piece of bread along with small amounts of white vinegar felt fuller and more satisfied than those who just ate the bread. 
An article published in the New York Times states, “One study by Italian researches showed, for example, that when healthy subjects consumed about 4 teaspoons (20 milliliters) of white vinegar as a salad dressing with a meal that included white bread with a little less than 2 ounces (50 grams) of carbohydrates, there was a 30 percent reduction in their glycemic response, or rise in blood sugar, compared with subjects who had salad with a dressing made from neutralized vinegar. In 2004, a study published in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association, found similar effects in people with diabetes or insulin resistance who consumed a vinegar solution or placebo before a carb-heavy meal.”
This research was of interest especially since I specialize in diabetes. Who’d have thought apple cider vinegar did such wonders to blood glucose!? While this research is surely fun trivia knowledge, diabetics should obviously not put the fate of their disease on the shoulders of apple cider vinegar.
Have you ever tried something “fad” to lose weight or be healthy? A certain diet? Food product? Exercise? Routine? Supplement?
I have a laundry list: Atkins, Apple Cider Vinegar Diet, South Beach…the list goes on and on. All I can say is that I’ve committed my life and career to healthful, balanced living, eating, and exercising! Live and learn, right?

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Surviving the Holidays


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Today at work was holiday season meal #1. Because let’s be honest, the temptations of the holiday season are all but limited to Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. 
Our work place hosted a pot luck Thanksgiving meal and let’s just say there was an abundance of temptations. While I showed up with my salad with Honey Goat Cheese dressing, others showed up with the classics: candied sweet potatoes, homemade mac’n cheese, cranberries, green beans, corn casserole, mashed potatoes, homemade hot rolls, turkey, dressing, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and coconut pie. Morning meetings could not get over quickly enough. Once the line formed for the buffet, it took all the will-power in me to keep from cutting to the front of the line or physically scooting along the slow-poke in front of me. Yummm! Doesn’t food always taste better when you’re not the one cooking and cleaning up after it?
In true RD fashion, I tried a little bit of the most eye-catching dishes, and only one dessert: pumpkin pie cheesecake. I forgot to mention that one…but yes, there was pumpkin pie cheesecake and yes, it was as decadent as it sounds. I dug deep and limited to one plate of small portions. After all, negative behaviors cannot be reinforced by the dietitian’s lacking self control!! Just wouldn’t do good things for my street cred, you know?
A lot of my patients dread the holidays because of the implication is has on their waste line. Rest assured, self and all others, the holidays are not a time for expansion! Or guilt!
Here are some tips from your resident dietitian blog friend to get you through this season without any added poundage.
Don’t go hungry.
Hello, this is no different than grocery shopping, folks. Hungry bellies lead to bad decisions in excess. Holiday parties and meals are NO exception.
Bring something to share.
Nine times out of ten, you’re not alone in your healthy-eating indeavors. A lot of your friends, family, and co-workers are also watching something…whether it be their blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, or weight. Healthy options are always appreciated. Plus, a plug for healthy, tasteful cooking is always a plus!
Limit the damage: calorie-free beverages to the rescue!
Be careful of wasting calories. Beverages are easy ways to send your intake over the top. Opt out of alcohol, or drink in moderation. And drink plenty of water, please! Bring your favorite calorie-free soda or flavored water so that you are able to enjoy a beverage of your choice.
Distance yourself from temptation.
If your family is anything like mine, desserts hang out on the table to taunt us all…nearly demanding second and third helpings. Same goes for appetizers. Put desserts and appetizers away from the crowd to avoid noshing and nibbling. BLT’s add up! Bites, licks, and tastes, that is! If appetizers and desserts are sitting out, position yourself away from the platters and plates. I once heard that you’re out of the “red zone” once you’re 15 feet from food. Make it happen!
Always survey the options.
Have you ever taken too large of portions and ran out of room on your plate before you got half-way through the buffet line? Did you just say to yourself, “Oops! I’ll be back for that next year?” No. You pile your food into a monument of mistake, or come back around for all that you missed. 
Before you start filling your plate at meals and parties, see what’s on the menu so that you can prioritize what you want the most. The majority of people enjoy most foods on a Thanksgiving spread, but can pass by quite a bit without feeling at all shafted. Get what you REALLY want and move on.
Wait it out.
If you find yourself wishing for seconds, take a 10-15 minute breather before heading back for more. Have a glass of water and re-assess in a few.
Go with a plate method.
If you’re serious about increasing the nutrition of your meal without the calories, opt for ½ your plate to be filled with vegetables and salad, ¼ to be filled with meat, and ¼ to be filled with potatoes, bread, casserole, etc. This insures you’re getting good balance and lowering the caloric damage of the meal.
Set goals.
Have a plan, write it down, and execute!
Start the day off right…exercise.
While many gyms are closed on holidays, sign up to run a local race or commit to going on a walk or run the morning of a holiday. Starting off the day with exercise can not only help balance caloric intake, but also get the tone set for the day: balance and health.
Don’t lose sight of what the holidays are about.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, or Chrismakah (for any OC fans out there!)…food and feasts are inescapable. Yet, they are NOT the focal point of holidays…or shouldn’t be, anyways. Focus, rather, on family, friends, faith, and fun…food is far secondary to all aforementioned.

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Filed under holiday, weight loss, weight maintentance

New reads & recipes…and a whole lot of thanks!

I’ve found some great new blogs to read, enjoy, and learn from this weekend. I haven’t “gotten out there” in the blog world due to limited time at the computer. Well, more like a lack of down time. So, check out some new blogs per my recommendation, why don’t ya!?

Andrea and Erin of Care to Eat  
Corinne of Green Grapes Blog 
Michelle of Lucky Taste Buds
Meredith of Pursuing Balance 
Tay of Taydor Tot
 
And on the topic of reading…Hedge Fund Wives by Tatiana Boncompagni is HILARIOUS! I’m only a few chapters in and am thoroughly enjoying it! Thank you, KG for the rec! Glad I asked for rec’s!! : )

I went to Akins Health Foods Store after my FIRST hockey game today. Other than Zevia’s price increase and the discontinued pumpkin apricot butter I’m obsessed with in my oats, it was a successful venture. As always. Check out the loot:
Going from left to right: organic quinoa, organic low-sodium chicken broth, organic almond granola, Terra Chips x 2, Tasty Thai organic pad thai dinner kit, Fiber Gourmet mac’n cheese, raw honey, and nutritional yeast flakes.
 
 For my oatmeal which will no longer be laden with pumpkin butter (*tear*), I purchased reduced-fat, organic coconut. I think vanilla soy milk + coconut flakes could be potentially mouth-watering additions to old-fashioned oats, eh?

And most importantly, I tried a new dish that is OUT OF THIS WORLD. I don’t say that very often, so believe it. This salad dressing is by far, hands down, shout-it-from-the-roof-tops phenom (and a recipe of Gina’s). Unless maybe you detest goat cheese, and then I question the reliability of your palate. Kidding…kinda. But really, if you decide to try something new in the future, consider this Honey Goat Cheese Dressing!!
Salad: mixed greens, diced apples, Craisins, and pecans topped with Honey Goat Cheese Dressing! Deliciousohhh! Husband seconds that claim, too!
Honey Goat Cheese Dressing
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 Tbsp water
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:
Blend together, mixing until combined and creamy in texture.
46 calories per tablespoon
We also had sirloin steaks with bleu cheese topping. Mmmm! I’ve had red meat twice this month, that’s a near record for me. Typically, not a huge red meat fan. But bleu cheese steaks…hook a sistah up! I do believe this makes me a FLEXITARIAN!
 
bleu cheese smothered sirloin with buttermilk mashed potatoes 

Last night husband and I went out to dinner to a new Thai restaurant. Here’s what we ordered…

Tom Kah soup with tofu…SOO  GOOD!!

Husband got pineapple fried rice with seafood (which was okay, but it was canned pineapple…bummer!)

Chicken and Vegetable Curry for me…mmm!

I cannot believe tomorrow is our 6 month wedding anniversary! How beautiful was our Chicago wedding? Ahhh! Perfect, amazing day! 


It’s been a wonderful 6 months filled with an abundance of blessings…a new home, a WONDERFUL job, the cutest little puppy, and most importantly…our health and love for one another.
So tell me…
What are YOU thankful for this Thanksgiving?
What is your FAVORITE Thanksgiving dish?
What do you use nutritional yeast on/in?

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Filed under blog, Flexitarian Diet, Gina's WW Recipes, grocery store, holiday, marriage, recipe, salad